I thought it was appropriate that a special ‘Thank You” section be made for the University of Louisville’s departing seniors that we will say good bye to prior to Saturday’s game vs. Virginia.  There is plenty left in the season, but this will be the final time we get to see this group play at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

This group has 3 regular season games remaining in their career (and hopefully a bowl), but here are their accolades:

11-2, 12-1, 9-4, 5-4

37-11 Overall (77.1%) with 3 games, potentially 4 to go. 

3 Governor’s Cups (1 to go)

3 Bowl Appearances (4th is upcoming?)

2 Bowl Wins (1 bowl to go?)

3 Top AP Top 25 Finishes (1 to go?)

James Burgess

From Homestead Senior High School (Homestead, FL) and enrolled during January 2012 James Burgess has been OUTSTANDING.  Hard hitter on the field and a soft heart off the field. Burgess has made time for various community organizations during his career at UofL volunteering his time and speaking to youth organizations.  Fans will remember his hard-hitting & reliable style to go along with outstanding coverage skills.

James as a true freshman intercepted Gary Nova to set up a John Wallace field goal that was the final margin to win the Big East Title and send the Cards to the Sugar Bowl in 2012.  He’s finished 3rd on the team in tackles as a sophomore and junior and currently is 2nd on the squad.  With Burgess at Linebacker the Cards have enjoyed great success and we wish him the very best to close the 2015 and onward.

Sheldon Rankins

From Eastside High School in Covington, GA signed with the 2012 class Sheldon Rankins might be Louisville’s most technically great football player.  He can play inside and outside, but no matter where he lines up he’s been extremely disruptive.  Sheldon struggled with injuries as a freshman and sophomore which limited his contribution in those seasons, but he still managed a sack in the Sugar Bowl vs. Florida.  Rankins broke out and became one of Louisville’s most dominant players as a junior in 2014.

Sheldon is possibly Louisville’s best pro prospect in this senior class and his versatility on the defensive line will be a huge asset to an NFL team.  Rankins has been a huge asset to the Cards on and off the field as well and is a great example of a person who leads by example, has the respect of his teammates and has been a wonderful ambassador of the Louisville Football program.

John Wallace

From Central Hardin HS John Wallace is now Louisville’s ALL-Time Career Leader in Made Field Goals having passed Lou Groza Award winner Art Carmody last Saturday vs. Syracuse.  Wallace has been extremely consistent and brings a strong leg as well.

Game winner in Overtime vs. Cincinnati in the rain to win the 2012 Keg of Nails, made a clutch 4th quarter kick vs. Rutgers for the final margin to win the Big East and secure the Sugar Bowl bid.  Made multiple field goals in the Sugar Bowl….ALL AS A FRESHMAN.  From there John has been a reliable asset to the Cardinal’s kicking game.  It’ll be a long time until someone breaks John Wallace’s Field Goal record.

Joshua Appleby

Appleby for Heisman was a thing this year.  It’s his first full-time punting season and he’s been worth the wait.   Appleby from East Limestone High School in Athens, AL has a HUGE leg, but he’s also shown some touch here in 2015.  Once Josh found some consistency he’s been a major weapon defensively for the Cards.

Pio Vatuvei

From Patterson High School in San Mateo, CA Pio Vatuvei came to Louisville by way of the Washington Huskies and then San Mateo Community College.

Pio has played with an extremely high motor during his 2 year career for the Cards and has greatly contributed to Louisville’s defensive efforts over the past two years.  Currently with 18 tackles, Pio has hopefully 4 games left to make his mark with the Cards.  It was too fast Pio.

Aaron Epps

From Tucker HS in Georgia, Aaron Epps has been in the Louisville Football program for a long time.  Epps came in always with the intention to play offensive line but his size (he was 6’7, 245) forced Charlie Strong to place him at tight end and wait for him to put on weight.

Aaron played mostly on just special teams until last season when the coaching staff turned to him at Tackle and Epps’ presence stabilized an offensive line in the latter half of the season and was subsequently named a captain for 2015.  This season, Aaron was a starter to begin the season before finding himself in a reserve role.  But his attitude and leadership allowed him to play outstanding last week vs. Syracuse.

Epps has been a fantastic addition to the Cardinal football program

Corvin Lamb

From Northwestern High School, Corvin Lamb’s last impression from Cardinal fans will be his kickoff return for a Touchdown.  Corvin’s speed has always been tantalizing for UofL fans but unfortunately Lamb was just never healthy for a long period of time.

One thing from Lamb’s career that has been overlooked was his clutch play in the Sugar Bowl. Hopefully Lambo can get a break away in Louisville’s last 4 games of 2015.  No one deserves it more.

Jermaine Reve

From Miami Northwestern, Jermaine Reve has been an extremely steady player for the Cards.  Reve has played a great deal of nickel during his time at UofL but has also logged a great deal of time at the safety position as well.

Perhaps his best play came as a freshman in the Sugar Bowl with an endzone pass break-up Florida Tight End Jordan Reed who would become a 1st round pick later that same April.  Reve has been a key component over the last 4 years, he’s made some big plays for the Cards.

TC Klusman

T.C. is walking on Saturday as a RS-Junior.  Klusman came to Louisville from Cincinnati Elder H.S.  and after redshirting as a freshman appeared in all 13 games during the 2013 season, mainly on special teams.  Klusman started a few games this season at Center and has been Louisville’s #1 Depth Chart Center at various points during his career.

Kelby Johnson

Actually played his first two seasons at Virginia and came to the Cards by way of ASA College after his stint at UVA and attended DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland.  Kelby has provided two seasons of depth for the Cards along the offensive line.

Kevin Houchins

From Brush H.S. in South Euclid, OH Kevin is walking as a RS-Junior.  Kevin has primarily been a special teams contributor during his career.

The Walk-Ons

George Clements, Darius Skinner, Aaron Ahner, Royce Donovan and Jon Brown.  

Any walk-on that walks on Senior Day should have fans’ ultimate respect.  Walk-ons are not afford the same level of comforts or opportunities of scholarship players.  Its rare for someone to get through all that comes with college football and exhaust their eligibility.  As such, George Clements is one of the fastest players in the Louisville Football program.  Darius Skinner has looked like a capable back in practice and during Spring Drills.  Royce Donovan is walking Saturday as a redshirt-Junior. Aaron Ahner has cracked the 2-deep during various Springs, and Jon Brown handled some kickoff duties early in 2014.

No team ever did anything worth mentioning without the help from its walk-ons.  Major tip of the cap to these guys.

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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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