Louisville Football is going to say goodbye to a special group on Saturday when 26 SENIORS play their final home game inside Cardinal Stadium vs. Syracuse. The game is at 4:00, Card March is at 1:30.
THIS GROUP AND THIS TEAM HAS EARNED YOUR ATTENDANCE AND ATTENTION.
This group includes a mixture of the recruiting class of 2015, the recruiting class of 2016…. and even Cornelius Sturghill signed in 2014! There are also players who made their way to UofL through junior colleges or as transfers, or graduate transfers. Football rosters are in a constant state of flux, but if you are a SENIOR playing college football ANYWHERE you’ve done something significant.
A LOT has happened while these guys have been on campus. 20 Cardinals had their degrees in hand before 2019 even started. We’ll have even more Louisville graduates next month.
The Walk-Ons/Former Walk-Ons
I’m going to start with the walk-on group first. Because this group has been through the absolute most. Most walk-ons arrive, pay their own way, get beat up in practice, work out with the team and don’t get the ‘pay off’ on the field. Being a walk-on is a ROUGH proposition in major college football.
But at Louisville walk-ons have traditionally found a way on the field, earned scholarships and even started. This group is no different. Louisville needs more Tyler Haycrafts. PERIOD. I don’t have much else to add, but it’s different being an offensive lineman, walking on to the program, and working your way onto the field, earning a scholarship…. and then starting. Remarkable. Well done Tyler.
Blanton Creque & Mason King will be two of the best specialists to ever play at UofL. Cold-blooded Creque ended his career a bit early with an injury but Blanton finishes his UofL career holding the following honors: 1st in FG% at 82.3%. 1st in FG made in a game (4), 2nd longest FG streak in UofL history (14), 3rd all-time in scoring (310), 3rd in FGs (51), 3rd in PATs (157), and 3rd in Point After % (96.9%). Mason King in one of UofL’s best punters of all-time and he’s bailed the Cards out of plenty of really difficult situations… currently King is 5th place in career punting yards. Creque and King were both placed on scholarship prior to the 2017 season.
Damien Smith is another who has found his way to the field, but even guys like Brendan Lowery, Luke Massad, and Thomas Nauert are so impactful to have SENIORS in the program from start to finish… especially when this entire group game in without the promise of a scholarship. Well done guys.
- Tyler Haycraft
- Mason King
- Blanton Creque
- Damien Smith
- Brendan Lowery
- Luke Massad
- Thomas Nauert
Louisville Football Original Signees
Louisville Football will say to just 7 seniors who signed with the Cards out of high school. That’s got to be some kind of a record. A lot can happen in 4/5 years (and 6 if you are Cornelius Sturghill) in a football program and this group certainly covered a lot of ground.
Khane Pass came to Louisville as “Puma’s brother” and he’s been one of the most important defensive players in the program over the past 3 season. Seth Dawkins is always a great ambassador of the program, makes big plays, is a real team guy and is a devastating blocker on the outside. Amonte Caban and GG Robinson both are hard-nosed defensive lineman and while Caban came in as a linebacker he’s made the adjustment for the betterment of the team.
Cornelius Sturghill feels like a fixture on this roster. This is his 6th year in the program after being granted a medical redshirt and I’m sure he’s more like Dr. Sturghill at this point. Emonee Spence was Lamar Jackson’s roommate and Devante Peete was a special teams captain and as Lamar said for their TD connection at NC State in 2015 “He’s 6’6 just throw it up”.
This is a special group. The group is small for a reason. Each one of these guys has my respect and the program is going to really miss them in 2020. Thank you.
- Seth Dawkins
- Khane Pass
- Amonte Caban
- Emonee Spence
- GG Robinson
- Cornelius Sturghill
- Devante Peete
Transfers (Regular Transfers, JUCO Transfers or Graduate Transfers)
No matter how you arrive in Louisville, you’ll still always be a Cardinal. This group of guys arrived from other places after high school. Junior College, Another University, or graduated and wanted to finish their careers at a different place. Whatever the reason each one of these guys played a key role at a key time for this program. WE NEEDED THEM.
Quen Head & Boosie Whitlow bring tremendous energy, Mbanasor came in from Oklahoma and has been key in a variety of ways. Ty Tyler has provided a pass rush in 2019. TJ Holl & TJ McCoy have both been really important pieces as graduate transfers, all Ean Pfeifer does is catch touchdowns.
Jordan Davis had one of the best catches I’ve ever seen vs. Florida State in Tallahassee this year and Gary McCrae had one of the best moments this year celebrating “SATTERDAY”. Thomas Jackson came in and helped bridge the gap in the transition early in 2019 and Jean-Luc Childs and Ronald Rudd provided depth on the offensive line.
- Quen Head
- Boosie Whitlow
- PJ Mbanasor
- Ty Tyler
- TJ Holl
- TJ McCoy
- Ean Pfeifer
- Jordan Davis
- Gary McCrae
- Thomas Jackson
- Jean-Luc Childs
- Ronald Rudd
In Closing – THANK YOU + 1 More
It’s wild thinking about the beginning of the 2015 season when the 2015 signing class came in here. But when this season ends we’ll close the book on the era that really began in the Georgia Dome vs. Auburn. We didn’t know about what that season would look like and we really didn’t know that in 2016 we’d all go on the ride of our lives with Lamar Jackson winning the Heisman, being in the Top 5 for much of the season… or that we’d all endure the fall out of 2018 together. But what I’m really just so Thankful for (and why I think all UofL fans are thankful for) is just the ride you took us on.
The wins, the losses. The time, effort and energy that it takes to be a Division 1, Power 5 Football player is tremendous. The 2018 season happened….. but so did 2019. And in 2019 you showed your true heart, your true passion and I’m just really appreciative of how the program led by this group of SENIORS got everyone together and made Louisville Alumni, fans and Cardinals everywhere proud.
1 More – Mekhi Becton
I don’t think we need to beat around the bush on this. Mekhi Becton is going to be a 1st Round Pick this Spring for a lucky NFL team. And I know he hasn’t declared yet and he has the free will to COME BACK to the University of Louisville if he chooses to do so…… but let’s be real here and let’s not miss an opportunity to THANK one of the best offensive lineman we’ll ever see wear the uniform at the University of Louisville. I saw Mekhi at his first practice in pads and I didn’t need to be an NFL scout to know I was watching something special.
Mekhi has been tremendous to watch… and I’ve watched him be an incredible team mate and ambassador of the program. I’m assuming this game will be the last inside Cardinal Stadium for Mekhi Becton and if that does become the case I just wanted to thank him for choosing UofL, being a great teammate, and a great Cardinal.