Charles Gaines, Terell Floyd, James Sample, Gerod Holliman, Andrew Johnson, Carl Williams, George Clements
The Cards lose a great deal of talent and production in its defensive backfield going from 2014 to 2015. Starters Charles Gaines, Terell Floyd, James Sample, and Gerod Holliman will all have a shot to make an NFL roster this summer in camp. Gerod Holliman tied the NCAA record for INTs in a single season with 14, was All-American according to every publication in the United States and won the Jim Thorpe Award and elected to leave Louisville early. Charles Gaines, also elected to leave Louisville with eligibility remaining and was largely avoided down field in the passing game. James Sample is the last of the early entrees into the NFL Draft and really had an outstanding single season for the Cards. Terell Floyd marked some of the most iconic interceptions in school history and was a very physical player on the outside. Andrew Johnson also made some big plays and started on occasion throughout his career.
Devontre Parnell (5-11, 184, Jr.), Trumaine Washington (5-10, 183, Soph), Richard Benjamin (6-0, 208, Soph), Chucky Williams (6-2, 201, Soph), Jermaine Reve (6-0, 202, Sr.), Terrence Ross (6-1, 200, Soph), Kevin Houchins (5-11, 200, Jr.), Jarrod Barnes (5-11, 196, Jr.), Tae’Shawn Gibbs (5’10, 180 Soph)
The Cards have to replace a great deal of production in the secondary in 2015. Every position will be a spot to watch this Spring. A safe bet to be in the immediate mix for a starting spot is Trumaine Washington who played a great deal in 2014 as a true freshman and registered 14 tackles and a sack from the corner spot. Washington will have an entire Spring to build off the solid foundation of his freshman senior, Trumaine did struggle with some injuries so working on his body should be a priority.
Another player that struggled with injury a year ago was Devontre Parnell. Parnell saw action in just 3 games in 2014 but is expected to push for a starting spot at corner and certainly is expected to be a major contributor in 2015. Jermaine Reve returned from injury in 2014 for the Clemson game and was an immediate impact at the Nickel spot. Reve could play Safety, Corner, or Nickel in 2015 and without seeing Spring Drills it will be difficult to slot where he might be on the field. For now, I’m going to set Reve aside at the nickel spot on his own.
We’ve seen Kevin Houchins slotted at both safety and corner during his career at UofL and was most recently seen at the CB spot on the depth chart. Houchins is built well and played in 8 games recording 6 tackles in a very crowded secondary in 2014. Kevin has been in the program for a while now….it’s time to make an impact. We’ll keep an eye out for him this Spring.
At safety, the potential of Chucky Williams is off the charts. With both safeties now gone, Williams really figures to have an opportunity to win a starting job at Free Safety. That’s a huge job in the Todd Grantham defense, and Chucky could be good enough to have fans bring Chucky Dolls from Child’s Play to PJCS for the next few years. Let’s hope. Richard Benjamin came to Louisville with a ton of hype and his athleticism in practice is clear, but played in just 1 game in 2014 and registered a pass break-up. Benjamin is a safety prospect at both spots that we’ll have to see where he fits in….if he is developed he could also move over to Corner or Nickel as well. But it’s time for Richard to show something.
Jarrod Barnes has made some waves in practice and on depth charts also and I think the coaches would actually be comfortable if Barnes played a great deal at Free Safety. Barnes registered no stats during 2014. We’re also watching to see if Terrence Ross will have his suspension lifted following two separate incidents with police in 2014. The ability of Ross is undeniable on the football field, but keeping a level head and handling business off the field has proven difficult for Terrence and perhaps the only thing that could derail an otherwise promising career. Ross is a super-freak athlete with tons of strength and speed and even returned kickoffs in the Belk Bowl. If he can be trusted to remain a member of the program he could become a starter……but Ross may have bigger issues than football to deal with first. We’re rooting for him to get it corrected, but we’ll need to see Terrence take himself and his role at UofL more seriously before we can get to football.
Shaq Wiggins (5-10, 166, Soph), Josh Harvey-Clemons (6-5, 212, Jr.), De’Eric Culver (6-0, 182, RS Fr.), Zykiesis Canon (6-0, 193, RS Fr.), Jarie Alexander (5-11, 170, Fr.), Cornelius Sturghill (5-11, 183,RS Fr.)
The opportunity in Louisville’s secondary for new players is PRONOUNCED. It’s wide open back there with so many players leaving the Cards for the NFL and after graduation. At corner, go ahead and write in Shaq Wiggins as a a starter. Wiggins transferred from Georgia where he started 8 games as a true freshman and was the #39 overall prospect in the 2013 recruiting class and was rated 4-stars by every major scouting service in the country. Wiggins was high school team mates with Texas A&M transfer and current Louisville Cardinal Ja’Quay Williams and chose Georgia originally out of high school over offers from South Carolina, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Louisville, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and Wake Forest.
I hear great things about De’Eric Culver from everyone in the program in that his body is ready for college football and he is extremely athletic. Culver redshirted in 2014 (why pull any DBs redshirt in 2014?) and has a chance in a wide open secondary to make an impact on the 2015 depth chart. Culver chose Louisville over Cal, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and South Carolina. Zykiesis Canon also redshirted his 2014 season and his high school tape was outstandin. The one thing that stands out about Zykiesis is his length and speed. Canon chose the Cards over Boston College, Georgia Tech, and NC State.
When the newest roster was released on-line the biggest shift was that Cornelius Sturghill was moved from Wide Receiver to Cornerback. Sturghill could have made a move at slot receiver this coming season and we’ll see if the move to Corner is a temporary one or not this Spring. Sturghill came to the Cards over offers from Wisconsin, UCLA, Mississippi State, Purdue, and Vanderbilt. His projection at Corner is unknown. In the 2015 recruiting class Jaire Alexander just signed this December and will be a part of the 2015 class that will sign on Wednesday. Alexander will have the same opportunity as everyone to compete for one of the many spots available in the Louisville secondary and will participate in Spring Drills, but I’ll guess he redshirts in 2015. Jaire chose Louisville over South Carolina and Kansas State.
At safety, Louisville has a potential STAR in Georgia transfer Josh Harvey-Clemons. Harvey-Clemons played in all 14 of Georgia’s games as a true freshman in 2012 and was the #31 overall prospect in the 2012 class. A former 5-star recruit, Josh started 11 games as a sophomore for the Bulldogs and then decided to transfer to Louisville with Todd Grantham. Harvey-Clemons went to Georgia with offers from Miami, Florida State, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, North Carolina, Notre Dame, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Harvey-Clemons registered 66 tackles as a sophomore and is a likely starter at Strong Safety for the Cards but there have been some discussions that Josh could play Outside Linebacker.
WHO MAY BE COMING?
Darius Smith (6’2, 198, Fr), Khane Pass (6-0, 195, Fr.), Sheldrick Redwine (6-1, 183, Fr.)
Darius Smith, Khane Pass, and Sheldrick Redwine is a fantastic potential recruiting haul for the Cards on Wednesday. All 3 of these guys possess similar traits in that they have college ready bodies for their positions and can cover a great deal ground. Dee (Darius) and Khane are safeties and Redwine is a cornerback. All 3 of these guys have MAJOR offers and potential and could easily factor in Fall Camp, especially if jobs aren’t solid this Spring. We’ll see if the Cards can land all 3 on Wednesday.
BEST GUESS DEPTH CHART
1) Trumaine Washington
2) Kevin Houchins
3) Zykiesis Canon
4) Sheldrick Redwine
1) Josh Harvey-Clemons
2) Terrence Ross
3) Darius Smith
4) Richard Benjamin
1) Chucky Williams
2) Jarrod Barnes
3) Khane Pass
1) Shaq Wiggins
2) Devontre Parnell
3) De’Eric Culver
4) Jaire Alexander
1) Jermaine Reve
These jobs are wide open. Jermaine Reve could play anywhere and Grantham could easily decide to play someone else at nickel. Reve is polished and has a great deal of experience. I like him at Nickel because of that versatility and his physicality. I do think Wiggins and Harvey-Clemons will will jobs (as long as Josh isn’t moved to LB) so that helps settle things a little bit. But everything truly is wide open and my best guess depth chart is probably useless in this instance…this Spring will determine a lot but I don’t think this will truly be settled until the Cards take the field in Atlanta vs. Auburn….and perhaps even past that.