LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Practice is still ongoing, but the fall camp portion of the 2021 preseason for the Louisville football program is now complete.
With classes at the University of Louisville resuming this past Monday, the Cardinals will soon phase into their regular season practice schedule in preparation for their season-opener on Sept. 6 against Ole Miss in Atlanta, Ga.
Related: Notebook: Louisville Football Fall Camp Week 1 and Week 2
The third fall camp in the Scott Satterfield era featured several standout performances from old and new players alike, as they hope to improve on their 4-7 season in 2020. Here are five of the most noteworthy performances from fall camp:
DE YaYa Diaby
No one arguably had a better fall camp on the defensive side of the ball than defensive end YaYa Diaby. The entire coaching staff has raved about not only his improvement in the weight room, but on the field as well.
"In practice, he's been able to do a lot of things, whatever he wants to do when he makes up his mind consistently," defensive line coach Mark Ivey said. "I think YaYa has probably improved the most, as far as where he was at to where he is now. Now he's got to make that come to fruition on game day as well."
The 6-foot-4, 273-pound lineman saw action in eight games during the 2020 season, logging 18 total tackles (10 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss and no sacks. Diaby is expecting himself to explode in 2021, going so far to set a personal goal of 10+ sacks.
WR Tyler Harrell
This 6-foot, 194-pound speedster put himself on the map back in the spring, when he logged a hand-timed 4.19 40-yard dash time. Since then, he has been working hard to develop other aspects of his game, and made meaningful strides.
"He's developing his skill set, becoming a much better catcher of the ball, which that's what he's got to do. He can't just run fast, he's got to be able to run routes and catch the ball," wide receiver coach Gunter Brewer said. "He has shown lots of signs of being that guy, and we're looking forward to him getting in some live reps."
Head coach Scott Satterfield even went as far to call him one of the hardest working players over the offseason, and as someone who has earned the right to game reps despite seemingly coming out of nowhere. Despite no meaningful game experience, the staff is confident in what he brings.
DE Ashton Gillotte
This true freshman has been turning heads since the moment he got on campus in January, doing things like power cleaning 405 pounds and gaining 40-plus pounds to his frame. On top of his athleticism, his football IQ had been showing itself in camp as well
"He's made a couple plays, and I asked him what he's doing right there, and when he explained it to me, the thought process was pretty impressive," Ivey said. "He's made multiple sacks in a couple practices already this fall. He's just a lot of strength, a lot of explosion, and he cares. He's a smart kid on top of that."
The 6-foot-2, 262 pound edge rusher cemented himself on the pre-fall camp two-deep depth chart, and is likely to be the true freshman that sees the most playing time in the 2021 season.
RB Trevion Cooley
Louisville has a stable of running backs that they will rely on for 2021, but that didn't stop true freshman Trevion Cooley from putting in the work. After a rocky spring, he turned it around and is making a case to be inserted into the main running back rotation.
"He's totally different from where he was in the spring. In the spring, he was kind of like a deer in the headlights. Every day right now, he's getting better and better," running backs coach De'Rail Sims said. "We're not a finished product yet, but you see flashes. You see flashes of what he's going to be, and that's the most promising thing."
Satterfield even singled the 5-foot-10, 200-pound back during the most recent scrimmage, complimenting his ballcarrier vision, pass protection and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
CB Chandler Jones
Louisville has several extremely capable defensive backs on their roster right now. While guys like Kei'Trel Clark, Kenderick Duncan and Qwynnterrio Cole might come to have better overall seasons, Chandler Jones has made the most overall progress in his game since last season, and could be the secondary's X-Factor.
"He's been just a different person in general since January. He is locked in right now, man, and doing a great job getting extra work," defensive coordinator Bryan Brown said. "The one thing I see in Chandler right now, is he's being a really, really good leader for the young guys, and being a great example for those guys, and help coaching them, and getting them in the right positions and in the right places where they need to be.
The 5-foot-10, 186-pound corner has logged 74 tackles, 15 pass deflections, 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks over the last two seasons, but he could be in even more opportunities to make plays in 2021. He has been cross-training at safety during fall camp, and will be able to bolster the back end at times.
(Photo of YaYa Diaby via University of Louisville Athletics)
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