WHO’S GONE?

BJ Dubose, Terry Ramsey

BJ Dubose had a banner year for his career tallying 41 tackles (8th on team) with 4 sacks and 7.5 TFLs.  Todd Grantham’s style was perfect for Dubose and B.J. was invited and played in the East/West Shrine game earlier this month.  The Cards also saw Terry Ramsey (who redshirted during 2014) transfer out of the program.

WHO’S BACK?

DeAngelo Brown (6’1, 306, Jr), Pio Vatuvei (6-2, 275, Sr.), Johnny Richardson (6’3, 313, Soph), Sheldon Rankins (6’2, 305, Sr.), Kyle Shortridge (6’2, 300, Soph), Aaron Ahner (6’3, 262, Sr.) Spencer Foy (6’4, 214, Soph), Gabe Ahner (6’3, 284, Jr.)

The Defensive Line was OUTSTANDING during 2014 and losing just one stud from that group is fantastic news for a unit that really set the tone for the entire defense.  DeAngelo Brown & Sheldon Rankins both passed up opportunities in the NFL Draft and had excellent seasons.  Brown held up the point of attack and really was the key to the 3-4 defense in a season where he was finally healthy throughout.  The play of DeAngelo’s season was vs. Notre Dame when he brought down Everett Golson on a QB draw that probably would have scored and won the game for the Irish had Brown not made the play.  DeAngelo Brown being back means that the Louisville Defense can be just as good (if not better than) as it was in 2014.

Sheldon Rankins was incredible throughout the entire season as well and finished 4th on the team in tackles with 53 and was the team leader with Tackles for Loss (13.5) and Sacks (8.0) as well while also recording 2 Interceptions and a forced fumble.  Rankins had a big year and was a FORCE on the end for the Cards.  In certain scenarios Sheldon also came in and played on the inside which is the type of versatility in personnel that makes Grantham’s defense so dangerous.  Sheldon Rankins and DeAngelo Brown could make runs at 1st Team ALL-ACC in 2015.

The Cards got a nice late addition when Pio Vatuvei showed up to Fall Camp in August.  Pio proved hard to deal with right away and was a big part of the rotation with BJ Dubose on the outside.  Vatuvei had to miss two games due to injury and the fall off on the Louisville defense was obvious.  Pio was important to the Cards last season, but the Cards really need his production and health to move up in 2015 from his 18 tackle, 4.5 TFL, and 1 sack performance in his debut season.

Johnny Richardson played in nearly every game during 2014 but really came into focus when Pio Vatuvei went out with an injury.  Johnny is also versatile and can play inside at tackle and also outside at the end position.  It will be curious to see if Richardson can make progress physically and make an even bigger impact in 2015, he is super-talented.  Kyle Shortridge is also a versatile and can play both inside or outside and worked his way onto the field late in 2014 as a redshirt freshman.  Both of these players have exciting futures and they should really begin to realize that future in 2015.

Aaron Ahner & Gabe Ahner are both walk-on brothers from Okinawa, Japan and look athletic in practice.  Spencer Foy is also a walk-on and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was actually at outside linebacker.

WHO’S COMING?

Tae Thibodeaux (6’2, 275, Fr.), Drew Bailey (6’4, 275, Soph)

In the 2014 class the Cards added Tae Thibodeaux from Westgate HS in New Iberia, LA and chose Louisville over Arkansas and Wake Forest.  Tae’s frame suggests that he would be an End in Grantham’s system and this Spring we will see where he fits in.

With the exit of Dubose, the Cards needed to ensure depth so they went out and got Drew Bailey (orginally from Banneker HS in Atlanta, GA) from Pearl River C.C.  Bailey redshirted his 1st year at Pearl and recorded 10 sacks as a redshirt freshman. Bailey will enroll as a redshirt sophomore and will have 3 years to play as a Cardinal. Bailey is a 2-star prospect according to Scout.com but is yet to be rated by Rivals or 247sports.com. Drew chose Louisville over offers from Iowa State, Maryland, NC State, and Purdue.

Both players will be here for the Spring and should be ready to contribute this coming season.

WHO MAY BE COMING?

G.G. Robinson (6-4, 260, Fr.), Aaron Cochran (6-3, 250, Fr.)?

We listed both of these players at tight end, because they could both easily play that position.  Currently I think G.G. Robinson is more than likely to end up on the defensive line than Aaron Cochran, but they are both very capable athletes with a bright future.  The Cards will have to fight off competition for both of these players, G.G. Robinson has an extensive offer sheet and visited Kansas State this past weekend and is visiting Florida on January 30th.  Cochran visited UCF this past weekend and is visiting Kentucky on January 30th with Georgia Tech also making a run at Aaron.

Right now I’m slotting Aaron Cochran at Tight End.

BEST GUESS DEPTH CHART

End
1) Sheldon Rankins
2) Kyle Shortridge
3) G.G. Robinson

Nose Tackle
1) DeAngelo Brown
2) Johnny Richardson
3) Gabe Ahner

End
1) Pio Vatuvei
2) Drew Bailey
3) Tae Thibodeaux
4) Aaron Ahner

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of TheCrunchZone.com

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