(Photo of Bryan Brown and Louisville Players: John Sommers II - Special to the Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Recruiting within collegiate athletics is an inexact science, to say the least. Occasionally, five-star guys don't pan out once they get on campus, and sometimes three-star players become the definition of a diamond in the rough.
The entire process of scouting, evaluating, and recruiting in general is already hard enough as it is. During the previous recruiting cycle - the Class of 2021 - COVID-19 made it even more difficult.
When pandemic started back in March of 2020, the NCAA, among many other things, instituted a mandatory recruiting dead period. During this time, absolutely no face-to-face contact was permitted. Normal recruiting staples, such as campus visits and evaluation camps, were effectively shut down.
Fortunately, roughly 15 months later, the end is in sight. Earlier this month, the NCAA announced that the current dead period would be lifted effective June 1, and transition into a normal recruiting period.
While there is still one month until Louisville football can officially host recruits, make in-person visits to high schools and prospects' houses, the program has long been preparing for the dead period to get lifted.
"We've got that plan formulated for the summer. We're anticipating June to be open, and we have to be able to host players and families on campus," head coach Scott Satterfield said in mid-March following the end of spring practice. For us, it's going to be like it was a year and a half ago, when we were hosting recruits and families.
Over the last week since the NCAA officially announced that the dead period would be getting lifted, Louisville's recruiting plans have been slowly coming to fruition.
The program has already announced that they will be holding five single-day camps during the month of June. "Elite Camps" will take place on June 5, 6, 14 and 26, and will focus on skill development for all positions on offense and defense, and a "Big Man Camp" will be held on June 24, with a speciality on offensive and defensive linemen.
Not only that, but they have continued to work the phones, and use their previously established relationships to get recruits on camps for official visits. As of Apr. 22, Louisville has already scheduled official visits for 10 prospects during the month of June - five of which are regarded as top 500 prospects according to the 247Sports Composite.
The Cardinals might not yet have a commitment in the current recruiting cycle, the Class of 2022, but that might be changing soon. Westfield (Ind.) defensive end Popeye Williams, who is slated to have his official visit with Louisville on Friday, June 11, is projected to give his verbal pledge to Louisville when he announces his commitment on Derby Day.
Due to several seniors electing to come back for another year with Louisville thanks to the extra year of eligibility provided by the NCAA, the program's '22 recruiting class is expected to be much smaller than normal. They appear to be going after several big name prospects in the cycle, and thanks to some of the early momentum they will be generating once the dead period is lifted, they might be able to land a few of them.
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