LOUISVILLE, Ky. - As many know by now, the Louisville football program has had a tremendous amount of success so far out on the recruiting trail for the 2023 cycle.
Headlined by blue chip recruits Rueben Owens II, DeAndre Moore, Aaron Williams and Pierce Clarkson, the Cardinals' Class of 2023 currently ranks as high as No. 9 in the nation according to On3. It goes without saying that, at the current pace, it will be the best class in school history by a sizable margin.
But, Louisville is far from done. The class currently only has 11 public verbal commitments, which is a little less than half of what a normal-sized recruiting class looks like. 15 scholarship players are in line to graduate after the 2022 season, and when taking into account the early entrants into NFL Draft as well as players lost to the transfer portal, it's likely that the Cardinals will end up taking close to 20 to 25 high school prospects in the class.
Obviously, Louisville has done a great job so far at replacing the talent that will be leaving after next season. But what are some of their biggest remaining needs in the class? Let's take a look at the class by position below, then analyze where the Cardinals need to go from here.
QB: Pierce Clarkson
RB: Rueben Owens II
WR: Jahlil McClain, DeAndre Moore Jr.
TE: Jamari Johnson
OL: Luke Burgess
DE: Adonijah Green
CB: Rayquan Adkins, Jeremiah Collins, Aaron Williams
S: Jayden Davis
First we'll start on the offensive side of the ball, and there's already a few spots here where Louisville is good at for the rest of the cycle. Pierce Clarkson and Rueben Owens II fill the Cardinals' needs at quarterback and running back, respectively. UofL is set to only lose Malik Cunningham to graduation, and don't have any seniors in the running back room, although Tiyon Evans is a good candidate to be an early departure to NFL Draft.
Louisville could add one more tight end to the fold, but it's not their highest priority. Isaac Martin will be graduating, and Marshon Ford could be heading to the NFL as a redshirt junior, but they're good at tight end for now considering Jamari Johnson's abilities.
Wide receiver and offensive line are UofL biggest needs on the offensive side of the ball as of right now, particularly the latter. Louisville is set to have three lineman graduate, including Caleb Chandler who will likely be a first round draft pick, and underclassmen like Bryan Hudson and Renato Brown could play themselves into a draft selection as well.
While Louisville only has one OL commit right now, expect that number to change relatively soon. Both Jordan Church and Madden Sanker, two longtime targets of the program, are set to commit soon and have been trending towards the Cardinals for quite some time. After they presumably join the fold, UofL only need one, maybe two more commits at this spot.
In theory, UofL is set at receiver. Josh Johnson and Braden Smith set to graduate, and Louisville already has a pair of high-profile commits there. But there has been a lot of movement at the position for the last two offseasons, not to mention that Tyler Hudson could have a draft pick worthy season. At minimum, Louisville needs at least one more receiver in the class, maybe two depending on how the rest of the cycle pans out at other positions.
On defense, the needs are a lot more obvious. Louisville only has one commit on the defensive line in edge rusher Adonijah Green, and no commitments at linebacker. On the line at nose tackle, Jermayne Lole will only get to spend one season with the Cards after coming over from Arizona State, so they'll need to secure at least one commit at that position. Moving to defensive end, only YaYa Diaby is graduating, so Louisville might be good here for now with Green in the fold and how young they are at the position.
Louisville's biggest remaining need in the cycle is at linebacker, as they are set to lose a ton of production. Inside linebackers Monty Montgomery and MoMo Sanogo have just one year of eligibility left, as do outside linebackers Yasir Abdullah and Marvin Dallas. That's four linebackers - regardless of alignment - that the Cardinals will be losing, and they have none committed. This will be, in my opinion, their biggest remaining focus for the rest of the cycle.
Finally, on to the secondary. Louisville landed some early targets here, and are in relatively good shape here. At corner, Chandler Jones is graduating, and it's all but a foregone conclusion that Kei'Trel Clark is heading to the league, and Quincy Riley could as well. Louisville is for sure losing just one safety in Kenderick Duncan, but coaches have been high on M.J. Griffin, so keep an eye on him for a breakout year that could put him in the league.
The Cards very well could be set at cornerback and be looking to add one more safety, but that is mostly reliant on what Jeremiah Collins' exact role at the next level will be since he split reps between corner and safety last year in high school. Whichever position he opts to play in college, the other is where Louisville will for sure add one more piece to the mix.
(Photo of Aaron Williams via University of Louisville Athletics)
You can follow Louisville Report for future coverage by liking us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:
You can also follow Deputy Editor Matthew McGavic at @Matt_McGavic on Twitter