LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With the 2022 college football season just under three months away, preseason watch list season is officially in full swing.
Long time college football expert Phil Steele recently released his 2022 College Football Preview magazine, and as part of his Preseason All-ACC teams, 10 Louisville players were selected.
Offensive lineman Caleb Chandler and cornerback Kei’Trel Clark headline the selections, with both getting named to the First-Team. Three Cards were named to the Second-Team in the form of wide receiver Tyler Hudson, tight end Marshon Ford and outside linebacker Yasir Abdullah.
An additional three were tabbed to the Third-Team, with offensive tackle Trevor Reid, cornerback Quincy Riley and kick returner Jawhar Jordan being named. Quarterback Malik Cunningham and defensive end YaYa Diaby round out the selections by landing on the Fourth-Team.
Chandler was by far was the top performer on arguably the most underrated offensive line in the ACC. Not only was the 6-foot-4, 313-pound guard voted as a First Team All-ACC selection for his efforts, but he was also named as on of the top 101 players from the 2021 season according to Pro Football Focus.
Despite missing a sizable chunk of the season due to a torn ACL, Clark was still one of the more productive defensive backs in the ACC. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound corner's nine pass breakups finished tied for second in the conference, as did his three interceptions, and he finished atop the league in passes defended per game (1.33) by a wide margin. He also finished with 40 tackles and 3.5 for loss, and was name Second-Team All-ACC.
Hudson comes over to Louisville from Central Arkansas, and was one of the best players at the FCS level last season. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound wideout was named a Second Team AP FCS All-American, finishing the season with 62 receptions for 1,242 yards and eight touchdowns. The yardage mark ranked fourth in all of FCS.
Ford finished the 2021 season with 49 receptions and 550 receiving yards - both of which were team team-highs - as well as two receiving touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound tight end was named Third Team All-ACC for his efforts.
Abdullah put together one of the best seasons from a Louisville pass rusher in this millennium. His 10.0 sacks led the team and was the most a Cardinal defender since 2015, and his 17.5 tackles for loss was good for seventh-most in a single season in UofL history. The 6-foot-1, 235-pound edge also logged 61 total tackles, three pass deflections and a forced fumble to be named Second-Team All-ACC.
Along with Chandler, Reid helped set the tone for the Louisville offensive line. The Cardinals averaged 209.8 yards on the ground per game in 2021, with the overall offense finishing the season averaging 446.2 yards - which was 21st in FBS - and 31.6 points per game.
Riley was one of the top defensive backs in the Group of Five during the 2021 season. Transferring from Middle Tennessee State, the 6-foot, 181-pound corner snagged five interceptions - which was tied for fourth in all of FBS - while also logging 14 pass defenses, four tackles for loss and a sack..
Jordan joined the program in fall camp, and the Syracuse transfer also saw limited reps during the regular season due to injury. He finished with 301 all-purpose yards and 183 kick return yards in 2021, including a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the First Responder Bowl vs. Air Force.
Cunningham was not only Louisville's heart and soul on offense in 2021, but one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound dual threat signal caller completed 62.0 percent of his passes for 2,941 yards and 19 touchdowns to only six interceptions, while also rushing for 1,031 yards and 20 touchdowns. His 20 rushing scores was good for fourth in the nation, and he became the 14th player in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards.
Diaby had an under-the-radar 2021 season. While the 6-foot-4, 255-pound edge rusher logged 39 total tackles with 3.0 for loss and 1.5 sacks, but his seven quarterback hurries led the team by a wide margin. According to PFF, his grade of 82.9 led all ACC pass rushers in 2021.
Louisville finished last season with an overall mark of 6-7 and 4-4 in ACC play, including a 31-28 loss in the First Responder Bowl against Air Force. The Cardinals kick off the fourth year of the Scott Satterfield era on Saturday, Sept. 3 at Syracuse.
(Photo of Kei'Trel Clark via University of Louisville Athletics)
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