Recruits Making Their Endorsements

The observer is sensing some guarded but undeniable currents of excitement as more is learned about the current class of recruits making commitments to the University of Louisville football class on signing day.

The entire class will be unveiled by Coach Steve Kragthorpe during the annual football signing party today at the Brown & Williamson Club at 6 p.m. From all indications, the addition of two new assistant coaches Brent Guy and Larry Slade has provided some much needed momentum.

Among the signees are linebacker Mike Privott and running back Boogie McCray who were teammates at Lake Taylor High School in Newport, Va.

Visions of Elvis Dumervil come to mind in this description of Privott from ESPN Insider:

Under 6-feet but is well-built and actually possesses longer arms for his shorter, stocky frame to assist in shedding and keeping blockers off his body. Fills quickly with a good short-area burst when he possesses a clear run lane to the ball. Is active between the tackles and shows good lateral quickness redirecting and slipping under blocks. Possesses a good nose for the football and plays with a high-motor on his pursuit.

This description of McCray’s heroics from the Virginia Pilot during a game against a Virginia power should also excite:

Lake Taylor got its boogie on Friday night in the form of running back Boogie McCray.  He danced around would-be tacklers to rush for 114 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Titans in a 48-7 non-district victory against perennial Northern Virginia power C.D. Hylton .  Lake Taylor, the second-ranked team in South Hampton Roads, has won 19 consecutive regular-season games.

McCray rushed for 1,535 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior, while making 11 sacks from his outside linebacker position on defense.

Tapping Into New Blood

By Charlie Springer

The success of the University of Louisville basketball team has quieted or drowned out some of the bitching about the football program. Or have they gone underground? At any rate, the complainers are out there, in droves, anticipating another player transfer or assistant coach departure, ready to erupt when something else goes awry.

Meanwhile, Steve Kragthorpe and crew continue to shake the bushes for the kind of recruits familiar to long time Louisville fans: the overlooked, the underrated, young men who want more playing time, and, yes, the junior college players badly needed to fill the depleted ranks.

The easier route for Kragthorpe would have been to resign or offer to take a buyout with all the criticism that engulf the program after last season. He didn’t do either, taking the more difficult path in attempting to rebuild the program. Doing it despite the odds of making any dramatic improvement next season.

Sticking around in such an atmosphere takes a lot of guts … or a lack of gray matter. Has to be the former because the man is not lacking in intelligence. Must see or sense a tiny beam of light at the end of the winding tunnel. Much easier to leave otherwise.

So the Observer will be there Wednesday for the 2009 football signing party at 6 p.m. at the Brown & Williamson Club as much from curiosity about the recruiting class as wanting to know why Kragthorpe is sticking around.

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Big Numbers Back Chooses Louisville

ye-popping numbers.

Louisville’s latest football verbal once ran for 485 yards on 25 carries in one game. That averages out to 19.2 yards per carry. He scored four touchdowns that game, including jaunts of 74, 73 and 65 yards.

Meet Jeremy Wright, a 5-foot-11 running back from Clermont East Ridge, Fla., who ran for a total of 2,707 yards to lead all of Florida, and racked up 28 touchdowns.

Tom Lemming, recruiting analyst for CBS College Sports, told the Orlando Sentinel: “He would definitely be a top-10 back in the state of Florida. But because there are a lot of backs in the South, he may have gotten lost in the small-back shuffle. I just think it is circumstances, but I bet he goes to college and proves himself.”

Possibly a diamond in the rough for Steve Kragthorpe and company. They are winning a few battles as the 2009 recruiting season draws to an end. Not beating traditional powers, mind you, but winning nevertheless.

That’s a start.

Check out Mr. Wright in the video after his team falls behind 14-0. That’s when he turns it on:

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Horace Miller Adds His Name

Add Horace Miller to the growing list of commitments to the University of Louisville’s 2009 football recruiting class. The Baltimore Dunbar player has made the switch from Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) to UofL, which sorely needs talented linebackers.horace1

While earning Maryland All-State honors during his senior year, Miller had more than 130 tackles and 29 sacks, bettering his junior year when he had 90 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 17 sacks and forced three fumbles. His team won a third consecutive state championship this season.

Check out the video highlights of number 33:

Here’s a link to an ESPN video, providing insights into his personality.  Show us, Horace, show us.

Cards Land ‘Prized Prospect’

The University of Louisville football team has secured a verbal from Roy Philon, a defensive lineman from Lexington Bryan Station who was heralded by the Courier-Journal last month as “one of the state’s prized prospects.”

The know-it-alls among us are sure to question why Philon is signing on with Coach Steve Kragthorpe’s team, thinking that the major reason would be early playing time, and lots of it. Well, think again. We have it on good authority that Louisville has been his favorite football team since he was a youngster.

While an early start is not assured, his talent level could quickly push him to the forefront. The C-J stats from his senior season are impressive.

“Philon, who runs a 4.6-second 40-yard dash, played defensive end, defensive tackle and running back for the Defenders. He made 52 tackles, including 14 for losses. Five of those were sacks, and he forced two fumbles and broke up two passes. As a running back, Philon needed only 10 carries to amass 220 yards and seven touchdowns.”

ESPN Scout gave him a respectable appraisal as well:

“Philon is a tough hard-nosed kid in the trenches. He moves around the line a bit in high school and plays a 3-4 end, but is likely more of a true interior player at the college level. He is a thickly built kid who will need to add some more bulk. If he is about the 6-foot-4 he is listed at then he should not have much problem getting to that 290-300 pound range. He will flash some solid quickness off the ball. Does a good job of being able to get to the shoulder of a blocker and power his way into the gap. Displays solid raw strength. He can be a vicious tackler who has a WWE flair to him. You would like to see him not leave his feet as much, but he likes to slam ball carriers to the ground …”

Why does the name of former Cardinal terror Michael Josiah come to mind? No comparison intended but it would be good to have another one, without Josiah’s challenges.

Aggressive football recruits wanted, needed and welcomed at Louisville.

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