The 2022 Louisville Football Media Guide was released last week in conjunction with the ACC Kickoff in Charlotte. Within the media guide was its annual first look Depth Chart. As is usually the case the 1st depth chart can change dramatically from when those books are printed to when Louisville actually takes the field for its opener on September 3rd vs. Syracuse.
Freshman and Transfers have the most upward potential and we’ll note a few individuals to keep an eye on as Fall Camp carries on.
- Ashton Gillotte (6-2, 265, Soph)
- Ramon Puryear (6-3, 268, R-Soph)
- Zach Edwards (6-3, 265, R-Soph)
Sometimes you find diamonds in the rough. That’s what Ashton Gillotte was for Louisville Football in 2021. A True Freshman, Ashton hit the field as an impact performer right away…. despite being the #1267 rated recruit in the 2021 class and managed to record 8 TFLs and 4 sacks.
Ramon Puryear came from Louisville’s Eastern High School and hit field right away as a surprise walk-on. He’s still very young and at 268 lbs might be finally growing into the role.
Zach Edwards came out of high school in Mississippi highly ranked and has found himself in a specialized role during his career.
All 3 of these guys are young and full of potential….. the best guess is that Gillotte breaks out and really solidifies himself as the #1. But it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Puryear or Edwards also excel.
Who We Are Watching: Victoine Brown chose Louisville over Michigan State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, NC State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Mississippi, Pitt, Purdue, Miami, Arizona State, Boston College, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kentucky, LSU, Maryland and Miami. He has great size out of Georgia and I wouldn’t count him out of the mix after redshirting in 2021.
- Dezmond Tell (6-1, 285, Soph)
- Jermayne Lole (6-2, 305, Sr.)
- Caleb Banks (6-7, 303, R-Fr.)
It’s time for Dez Tell. The Soph has two years of college football under his belt, he’s been in some battles he’s had time to work on his physicality at the point of attack. He should be ready. But if he ISN’T……. Louisville went out and got Jermayne Lole from Arizona State. Lole is PFF’s #1 Defensive Tackle Transfer of the 2022 season and many think he’ll be in the advanced part of the NFL Draft. So Dez Tell has his hands full here. Don’t be surprised if Lole wins this job.
Not to mention that Caleb Banks is a recruit out of Michigan that was originally an Arizona State commit. Banks is BIG and he’s grown more into his body after a redshirt freshman season. Louisville has options here. So listing 3 guys really isn’t appropriate…. there’s more options.
Who We Are Watching: Selah Brown, Tawfiq Thomas, and Jared Dawson all come into 2022 with varying levels of experienced and perceived readiness. Dawson has played some college football and looks the part in pads. But it’s time to get it going. Again Jared is another young Louisville defensive lineman so the sky is the limit. It’s just time.
Tawfiq Thomas has lost weight coming into Louisville in the 2021 class out of Tampa, but he’s still a very big Defensive Tackle prospect with a low center of gravity. Thomas might very well crack the rotation. Lastly, Male High School prospect Selah Brown needs to grow into his body and will likely redshirt….. but we wouldn’t be surprised if you see him develop more into a Defensive End depending on body development.
- Yaya Diaby (6-4, 270, Sr.)
- Mason Reiger (6-4, 254, Soph.)
- Ryheem Craig (6-3, 220, R-Fr.)
Yaya Diaby in the 2nd half of 2022 finally was the player on gameday that his coaches would always talk about. Diaby broke through in 2022 holding the edge. Mason Reiger is LONG and a former walk-on that the coaches really like out of Illinois. Reiger had 4.5 TFLs and 2 sacks in limited action as a freshman last year and we’ll see if he can build on that production with a larger role in 2022.
Rhyeem Craig is one of those body development guys. He has great burst but he needs to add weight in order to move out of a strict pass rushing role. But if it is 3rd and Long…. watch out.
Who We Are Watching: RJ Sorensen is a freshman coming off a redshirt that we need to learn more about. He has ‘right now’ size and chose Louisville after flipping from Nebraska and holding other offers from Georgia Tech, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Rutgers, and Syracuse.
- Yasir Abdullah (6-1, 235, Sr.)
- Kam Wilson (6-2, 228, Soph.)
- Allen Smith (6-2, 230, R-Soph.)
Yasir Abdullah was 2nd in Sacks in the ACC in 2021. Yasir went off with 10 sacks, 16.5 TFLs and 60 tackles. Abdullah caught his stride in 2021 and if he builds on that he’ll make a run at 1st Team ALL-ACC after being 2nd Team ALL-ACC a year ago.
Kam Wilson has struggled with injuries during his time here. But it’s time for Kam to get it done as a former 4-star recruit. Allen Smith came to Louisville after suffering a season-ending injury to end his high school career. Allen was originally committed to North Carolina and chose the Cards over Penn State, Nebraska, Cincinnati and Oregon. The spot behind Abdullah is there for someone to claim. Who is it going to be?
Who We Are Watching: Popeye Williams is someone we’ll be watching closely. Coming from Indianapolis Popeye is the 12th highest rated signee in Louisville Football history (the upcoming 2023 class might move him down!). But Popeye’s body is ready and he finished high school as the #181 player in the country for 2022.
- Monty Montgomery (5-11, 220, Sr.)
- Dorian Jones (6-0, 235, R-Soph.)
- Jaylin Alderman (6-1, 226, Soph.)
Monty Montgomery was lost for the year in the UCF game (Game 3) of the 2021 season. There were big expectations for Montgomery in 2021 but instead the Cards were forced to go very young at Linebacker for the duration of the season. Now Monty is back and his ability and experience at the MLB spot is gong to be a big lift.
Dorian Jones was lost for the year in 2019 during his true freshman campaign. Last year Dorian compiled 48 tackles and 4 TFLs. This will be his 4th season of college football, yet is still considered a redshirt sophomore. Dorian has a lot of experience playing college football at this point and is a valuable piece. Everyone remembers the Jaylin Alderman INT for a TD during the UCF game in replacement of Monty Montgomery. Alderman has added 11 lbs for the upcoming season after tallying 16 tackles in 2021. Look for an increase here.
- Momo Sanogo (6-1, 227, Sr.)
- KJ Cloyd (6-2, 221, Jr.)
- Jackson Hamilton (6-0, 219, R-Fr.)
Momo Sanogo comes to Louisville from Ole Miss for this final year of eligibility. Momo was a 4-star recruit out of high school rated as the #13 LB overall. During his sophomore season he was 5th in the SEC in tackles. The landshark was lost for the year in 2019 after just two games with a right ankle injury after being named Preseason ALL-SEC 3rd team. After 210 tackles in the SEC Momo is getting his Masters in Business Administration at UofL and is the presumed starter at Middle Linebacker with Monty Montgomery. Lots of experience here.
KJ Cloyd also brings a lot of experience and athleticism to the linebacking corps in 2021. KJ has been a special teams dynamo during his tenure here and has seen some meaningful snaps as well. The coaching staff kept the redshirt on Jackson Hamilton last year but he did appear in two games. The coaches have consistently praised him for his work during practice. We’ll see how that translates to the field in his redshirt freshman season.
Who We Are Watching: TJ Quinn added 13 lbs in the offseason. Quinn also redshirted his 2021 season but did check in vs. Duke and logged 2 tackles. TJ is from Valdosta, GA and had offers from VT, Colorado, BC, Illinois, UK, NC State, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Washington State and West Virginia. The linebacking group is full of veterans so it may be another ‘work’ year for Quinn, but he’s one to keep an eye on as young players often burst onto the scene in their 2nd year of college football.
Outside Linebacker (It’s Really a Nickel)
- Ben Perry (6-2, 212, R-Fr.)
- Marvin Dallas (6-1, 190, Sr.)
Ben Perry was Louisville’s highest rated recruit in the 2021 class as a 4-star. Ben played in 3 games, retained his redshirt and then added 42 lbs to his frame in a single year. Perry is JACKED and is ready to take on a much bigger role. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to see a lot of Marvin Dallas. Marvin traded time with Jack Fagot a year ago and tallied 21 tackles. Dallas had some injuries in 2020 but played in all 13 games in 2021. This is an interesting matchup to watch during Fall Camp.
- Chandler Jones (5-10, 186, Sr.)
- Trey Franklin (5-10, 180, R-Soph.)
- Quincy Riley (6-0, 181, Jr.)
Both Cornerback spots are going to be interesting. Chandler Jones is the elder stateman of the boundary side going into his senior season. Chandler has played a monster amount of football during his 4-year career so far with 131 tackles, 23 Pass Breakups, 7 TFLs, 2 FFs and just a lot of really solid play. It stands to reason that he’ll be the front-runner to win this corner job.
But…… not so fast. Chandler has some serious competition Trey Franklin came to Louisville after a JUCO season with Iowa Western and pulled down 2 INTs. Franklin had his moments in his 1st full season of college football (the bowl game wasn’t one of them). But this Georgia native looks to build on a really solid opening year.
And then there is Quincy Riley who might come to Louisville after 3 seasons at Middle Tennessee and just steal the job. Riley is a ballhawk from Columbia, SC. He’s played in just 18 games so far during his career but has 7 INTs and 13 PBUs. Riley chose to transfer Louisville after considering Tennessee and helps bolster the secondary.
Chandler Jones, Trey Franklin or Quincy Riley? Who wins the job? It’s safe to say that all 3 players are going to be major factors for the 2022 season.
- Josh Minkins (6-2, 196, Soph.)
- MJ Griffin (6-1, 210, Soph.)
- D’Angelo Hutchinson (6-3, 185, Fr.)
- Jeremiah Caldwell (6-3, 175, Fr.)
The strong safety position is WIDE open after Qwynnterrio Cole moved on to the Oakland Raiders. Josh Minkins had 17 tackles and an INT last year after playing in 11 games and the Ballard HS product is listed atop the media guide depth chart. But… his Fall Camp is going to be tremendously important to whether or not that remains the case as the Cards open the season vs. Syracuse.
Hot on his heels is Temple Transfer MJ Griffin who was 2nd on the Owls’ team in tackles last year with 65 as a freshman. Scott Satterfield repeatedly praised the Michigan native during Spring Practice. Fun Fact: MJ Griffin’s godfather is former Louisville Cardinal & Indianapolis Colt Aaron Bailey.
Then there are the freshman of the 2022 class: D’Angelo Hutchinson & Jeremiah Caldwell. Caldwell is also from Michigan comes from football powerhouse Belleville was a 4-star prospect and was formerly committed to Kentucky and held offers from Michigan, Michigan St, Tennessee and others. Hutchinson is from St. Petersburg, FL and was originally committed to Iowa State.
Bryan Brown and Scott Satterfield have options here. Because Minkins and Griffin have both played college football it stands to reason that they currently hold the advantage. MJ Griffin has the most stat production while Minkins has played in the ACC. This could be an evolving picture throughout the season.
- Kenderick Duncan (6-3, 206, R-Sr.)
- Nicario Harper (6-1, 205, Jr.)
- Shavarick Williams (6-0, 185, Soph.)
Kenderick Duncan was UofL’s starting FS in 2021 and finished with 76 tackles after transferring from Georgia Southern. Duncan added 4 PBUs, 1 INT and 3.5 TFLs and was STEADY throughout his initial campaign in the ACC. It’s hard to imagine anyone replacing Kenderick in 2022, BUT….
Nicario Harper comes to the Cards as the OVC Defensive Player of the Year from Jacksonville State and was a FCS All-American. The Atlanta native also spent two seasons at Southern Miss.
Shavarick Williams came to Louisville from SW Mississippi junior college and has yet to play after redshirting the 2021 season.
Who We Are Watching: Antonio Watts comes to the Cards from Columbus, GA as a 3-star prospect from Carver HS (the same HS as Jawon & Khane Pass). Watts is an intriguing athlete that was very productive at the 4-A level in GA. We’ll keep an eye on Watts during his true freshman year.
- Kei’Trel Clark (5-10, 180, Jr.)
- Rance Conner (5-10, 186 R-Fr.)
- Jarvis Brownlee (5-11, 182, Soph.) OR
- Derrick Edwards (5-10, 177, R-Fr.)
Kei’Trel Clark was named 2022 All-ACC. So he’s the starter. The biggest question for Clark is coming back from an injury vs. NC State that ended his 2021 campaign. Last year Kei’Trel registered 40 tackles and 3 INTs along with 9 PBUs. The QBs that Kei’Trel faced were ELITE in 2021, but those signal callers still avoided Kei’Trel as much as possible.
Rance Conner retained his redshirt after playing just two games in 2021. He was forced into action vs. Air Force and like most true freshman, just wasn’t ready. Getting some game action, going through a Spring and offseason it’s no surprise to see Rance here at #2.
But behind Conner is Florida State transfer Jarvis Brownlee who played in 12 games in 2021 for the Seminoles registered 51 tackles and 2 INTs along with 3 PBUs. Jarvis is originally from Carol City HS in Miami and had offers from the big 3 schools in Florida. It will be interesting to watching Jarvis’ impact on the 2022 season, he’s played A LOT of high-level college football. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him at the opposite side or win the job if Kei’Trel Clark needs more time.
Derrick Edwards redshirted in 2021 and did not register action but did add 8 lbs up to 177 lbs in a year. Edwards came to Louisville out of Palmetto HS in Miami and chose the Cards over Miami, FSU, Tennessee, Pitt, UK, Baylor and WVU.