Brooks & Brown haven’t seen Fall Camp action.
2012 started slow for the University of Louisville Defensive Line. It started with 3 straight games of almost no run attack from offenses and a great deal of 3-step drop to negate the Cardinal pressure. But even with that, the numbers were down in 2012 in terms of defensive line production. Rush Defense dropped from 100.54 yards per game (10th in nation) in 2011 to 148.00 yards per game and 49th in the country in 2012. Sacks dipped from 2.54 per game (19th in nation) in 2011 to 1.69 (80th) in 2012 and Tackles for Loss also saw a downward trend from 7.08 (23rd) to 4.54 (101st) from 2011 to 2012.
These numbers aren’t entirely on the D-Line though. Linebackers play a role and it’s also very important to note that the Louisville Defense was significantly less aggressive in terms of schemes and play calls for much of 2012. Many wondered if it was a shift in philosophies with now that the Cards had a reliable offense. Whatever the case was the Cards had problems at times stopping the run and it looked like depth, injuries, and suspensions played a role in performance late in the year. This was evidenced by how well the defense played against Florida once the Cards got healthy.
Sheldon Rankins (6-2, 287, Soph) came in to the Cards as a Defensive End and it didn’t take long in the training room to see that Rankins was quickly out-growing that position. The decision was made to put him on the inside before Fall Camp. The 1st year playing the interior defensive line Rankins had a very nice debut season playing in 9 games with 7 tackles and a sack in the Sugar Bowl. With freshman playing either O-line or D-Line the worry is stepping the physical play up and knowing your keys. Rankins missed some time to injury and has missed a great deal of the 2013 Fall Camp. We’ll see how much that hampers Sheldon from seeing the field on Sunday. I really liked Sheldon’s Sugar Bowl it was a glimpse into the future of his game. He’ll progress this season, has a good attitude, and I’ll really look out for a big Junior year from him in 2014. Currently Rankins is listed #2 at Defensive End behind Lorenzo Mauldin, but Rankins can also play on the inside if needed.
Deiontrez Mount (6-5, 234, JR) always looks happy with his helmet off. I’m serious….. find him around town and tell me he doesn’t look like the happiest person in the world. That said he plays a mean brand of football. Mount came on strong late in 2011 and the same thing happened late in 2012. I’d like to see Mount start out 2013 in mid-season form and I’m willing to bet that the 2013 numbers are better than the 2012 figures. Mount’s body type makes him versatile. He’s long, fast, and strong enough to put his hand down and fast enough to go into coverage. Guys like Mount make a defense hard to read for a QB with a really good zone blitz option. Mount played in every game in 2013 and had 26 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 4 TFLs, and a pass break-up. Currently Deiontrez is listed #2 at Fox End behind Marcus Smith.
BJ Dubose (6-5, 287 JR) really hurt his team getting suspended mid-season. The details of the suspension remain in-house but regardless of the reason the result left the Cards thin on the outside. Dubose really impressed me his freshman season, but I felt like his game was too quiet even before the suspension as a sophomore. Dubose plays assignment football and has the size to really do well at his position. Dubose needs to stand out in 2013 after a season cut short and disappointment his teammates. This off-season is a time for Dubose to re-gain trust. BJ had 15 tackles, 0.5 TFLs, 1 Pass Break Up, and a QB hit in 7 games during 2012. UofL’s lists him as a DT, and I do think he can play 3-technique but I also think he could potentially still slide over to the outside if needed, especially if the Cards ever go into a 3-3-5 or 3-4 defense.
Marcus Smith (6-3, 252, SR) came to Louisville as a QB. After an outstanding Sugar Bowl at defensive end I asked him whether or not he thought he could give Teddy a run for his money, Smith laughed it off but it highlights his athleticism. Marcus went from QB to linebacker to defensive end and was a pass rushing specialist in 2011. Smith was much more of an every down end in 2012. Smith appeared in all 13 games for the Cards last season and had 29 tackles, 7 TFLs, 4 sacks, an INT, and 2 forced fumbles. Very effective. Still Marcus’ production needs to increase. His game in the Sugar Bowl showed his ability and if he has that type of game each time out in 2013 he’ll have a chance to play in 2014 as well. During Fall Camp Marcus was held out of a considerable amount of drills and has been seen with his arm in a sling. Charlie Strong says he will be ready for Ohio.
Lorenzo Mauldin (6-4, 243, JR) LOZO is one of my favorites. It seems like Louisville’s defensive line has more characters than any other position group, and Mauldin is a good example of that. Mauldin is engaging, but he is also someone I think has HUGE potential to breakout in 2013. Mauldin played tight end for much of 2011 and was able to play 2012 as a full-time defensive end for the first time. Mauldin had 22 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, and a forced fumble in 2012 and I think a little extra strength & seasoning will help boost his totals. Mauldin also missed two games with an injury after BJ Dubose was suspended which really hurt the D-line. Mauldin can rush the passer and he relentlessly pursues the ball, I’m really excited to see what he can do in 2013. LOZO will start 2013 as the #1 DE.
Dominique Dishman (6-2, 284, Soph) played against Temple but did not register any statistics. Dishman played his redshirt freshman season in 2012 after coming to the Cards from Lexington Dunbar.
DeAngelo Brown (6-1, 318, Soph) is STRONG. I really feel like DeAngelo’s best game was against Southern Miss in 2012. Brown appeared in 6 games and like Rankins dealt with some injuries as a true freshman playing on the interior defensive line. Brown has the strength to be a nose and I really like his potential for taking on double teams and pushing the pocket in the future. Unfortunately DeAngelo has missed all of Fall Camp and is looking unlikely to play in 2013. We’ll see how Brown’s injury progresses as the season unfolds but I was very excited to see DeAngelo with a season under his belt, a Spring, and another summer of conditioning followed by Fall Camp. I really felt like Brown was going to see major minutes in 2013. Now we wait and see. Brown had 10 tackles and 1 TFL in 2012.
Roy Philon (6-3, 291, SR) is as laid-back and low-key of a person you can find playing high-level college football. Philon rehabbed a back injury in the off-season and put together a nice effort in 2012 with 27 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 4 TFLs. Philon was the target during USF’s goal line attempt that was a huge turning point in the season. Philon is very good at shedding blocks as a 3-technique. I’d like to see him get more pressure in 2013 like he did his first two years as a Card. Philon should play a great deal at 3-technique in 2013.
Brandon Dunn (6-3, 300, SR) Local product makes good. Brandon Dunn is a PRP product and I can not believe he is a Senior already. Dunn played right away for the Cards in Charlie Strong’s first season out of necessity as UofL was almost devoid of Defensive Tackles. Dunn lost some weight coming into the 2012 season in an attempt to be more agile and Brandon had 28 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 pass-break ups. I’d really like to see both Philon and Dunn hold their ground a little better in 2013, especially in the run game but overall Brandon Dunn has really given a great deal of himself to Louisville and I look for him to go out in a big way in his senior year. Dunn can be a leader, and was set to start at 3-technique before Jamaine Brooks and DeAngelo Brown missed Fall Camp with injuries…..now Dunn is going to be counted on at Nose Guard.
Jamaine Brooks (6-4, 326, JR) Louie Maine is HUGE and he is also a big personality as well. Like Deiontrez Mount, Brooks has put his best foot forward toward the end of the last two seasons. I absolutely LOVE Jamaine’s potential to really affect a game, he just needs to play more consistently and stay healthy. He has the prototypical body for a Nose and can really move for a guy his size. I like that Brooks doesn’t usually get pushed back and usually does create problems in the running lanes. I think he can REALLY be a difference maker on defense and he would have started right away if not for a knee injury that has kept him out of Fall Camp. Jamaine started 6 games and played in 12 (missed UNC) and had 19 tackles.
Andrew Polston (6-6, 260) walked-on from Louisville St. Xavier and did not appear in any games in 2012.
BJ Butler (6-2, 268, SR) moves to fullback and played some DT and DE during his time along the D-Line. Even played some linebacker. Butler really saw diminishing returns on the D-line and had new life breathed into him with his move to offense.
Pedro Sibiea (6-3, 301 , RS-FR) moved to Offensive line and is currently playing Right Guard.
Griffin Uhl (6-3, 267, RS-FR) moved to Fulback.
Hunter Stout moved from offensive line to Defensive Tackle last Spring leaves Louisville with his degree. Did not appear in action in 2012.
De’Asian Richardson (6-3, 285, FR) is a steal out of Orange Park HS in Jacksonville, FL. Richardson was committed to Florida State & West Virginia at different points during his recruitment and flipped his commitment to the Cards after holding offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Penn State, Pitt, South Carolina, Tennessee, and UCLA. De’Asian is obviously a major talent but suffered an injury late in his junior season and was then dismissed from his team after transferring between junior and senior years. Right now he is playing Defensive Tackle and I’d say he is a “heavy” 285. It doesn’t appear that Richardson is getting any smaller and I think DT and possibly Nose could be his future. Still Strong said when they signed De’Asian “Alot of his weight is probably sitting in the wrong place, we’ll get him in our program and get him moving in the right direction.” So far the staff has had nothing but good things to say about De’Asian and I think we’ll see him pretty early.
Finesse Middleton (5-11, 259, FR) enrolled during the most recent Spring semester and I can tell that Charlie Strong likes him a lot. Finesse plays opposite of his name. He is a pure pass rusher and has a body that will be very familiar to Elvis Dumervil. Middleton comes to the Cards from Gadsden, AL and had an offer from Ole Miss. A lot of services ranked him with Defensive Tackles, he’s obviously an END from his tape and body type. The real question for Finesse is when does he make his impact? If I’m him I’m following Marcus Smith around campus and watching as much Dumervil tape as I can possibly find. Currently Finesse is making noise at Fox End and may get time in pass rushing situations if the staff decides to burn his red-shirt.
Kyle Shortridge (6-3, 297, FR) comes from Seminole Ridge HS just west of West Palm Beach. Shortridge’s commitment made me wonder if Louisville Athletics actually owns a condo or beach house in the Miami area because the area is just WORKED for top prospects since Charlie Strong’s arrival. Shortridge signed with the Cards over Purdue, Wake Forest, Nebraska, Boise State, Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Florida, Texas A&M, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Shortridge is described as a ‘bullish” Defensive Tackle and has drawn the praise of Vance Bedford. I expect to see Shortridge play snaps early in the 2013 season.
Stacy Thomas (6-3, 237, FR) signed late after National Signing Day and had offers from Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Indiana, LSU, Mississippi State, Rutgers, WVU, and Wisconsin. From what I could see of Thomas he was very athletic and a fantastic player of the future. I think Thomas will red-shirt and add strength and size to his frame, he is someone I really look to take advantage of Spring and the red-shirt and crack the depth chart in 2014.
Aaron Ahner (6-3, 270 Soph) & Gabe Ahner (6-3, 268, RS-FR) come from Kadena High School on the Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. His brother is Aaron, both redshirted last season for the Cards. It’s not everyday that the Cards get players out of Okinawa, Japan.
I’m VERY excited to see what the added depth and experience does for this group. I was a little disappointed in 2012, but some of that was beyond the control of the players with the depth, injury, suspension issues that happened of the course of the season along with a little more conservative style. I would like to see this group assert their WILL in 2013 with the added depth that should be available. Louisville will probably use 10 guys on the D-line quite a bit and they have 15 on scholarship. These incoming true freshman MUST outplay the veterans if they hope to not red-shirt. BUT I think at least two will red-shirt and that will be very good for the future. This group has a lot of talent for 2013 and production HAS to go up, and I fully expect that it will.
2013: Marcus Smith, Roy Philon, Brandon Dunn, Deiontrez Mount, BJ Dubose, Lorenzo Mauldin, Jamine Brooks, Sheldon Rankins, DeAngelo Brown, Dominique Dishman, Andrew Polston, Pedro Sibiea, Griffin Uhl, De’Asian Richardson, Finesse Middleton, Kyle Shortridge, Stacy Thomas,
2014: Deiontrez Mount, BJ Dubose, Lorenzo Mauldin, Jamaine Brooks, Sheldon Rankins, DeAngelo Brown, Dominique Dishman, Andrew Polston, De’Asian Richardson, Finesse Middleton, Kyle Shortridge, Stacy Thomas,
2015: Sheldon Rankins, Dominique Dishman, Andrew Polston, De’Asian Richardson, Finesse Middleton, Kyle Shortridge, Stacy Thomas,
2016: De’Asian Richardson, Finesse Middleton, Kyle Shortridge, Stacy Thomas,
2017: De’Asian Richardson*, Finesse Middleton*, Kyle Shortridge*, Stacy Thomas* (*if redshirt is used)
Linebackers 8-25-2013 8:00 a.m.