Three Minute Drill: 19 Louisville Cardinals
2015 Recap: A lot has changed since Teddy Bridgewater left Louisville for the NFL two years ago. Bobby Petrino has returned to his old stomping grounds, the Cardinals are now in the ACC, and they aren’t winning double-digit games anymore. Don’t get me wrong, Louisville hasn’t been bad, but the magic from when Teddy Two Gloves was on campus is now gone. Enter Lamar Jackson. A dual-threat true sophomore quarterback who has the potential to be college football’s most exciting player and bring Louisville back to the double digit days.
Appointment TV Player: While Jackson is the X-Factor, pass-rusher Devonte Fields is Louisville’s best player. Fields started his college career at TCU in 2012 where he was the Big 12 AP Defensive Player of the Year as a true freshman. After a domestic violence incident and a stint at Trinity Valley Community College (think Last Chance U), Fields is back in Division I with the Cardinals. Fields is a freak athlete and a top five pass-rusher in college football who can get to the quarterback in a multitude of ways. If not for his off-the-field issues, he would have been a first round pick this past year.
Breakout Player: Most college football fans already know Lamar Jackson, so it’s tough to tab him as a “breakout player”, but this is the year he becomes a household name. Jackson’s game is eerily similar to Johnny Manziel’s, and despite his recent struggles, Manziel is one of the best college football players of the past decade.Starting as a true freshman, Jackson was was exciting, but was a mediocre passer. This is the season LJ torments ACC defenses like he did to this poor defender in high school.
Socially Exceptional: Jackson is a strong dark horse favorite to win the Heisman so you might as well give him a follow.
2016 Expectations: Louisville lost their best player in DT Sheldon Rankins, but besides that they didn’t lose much. The Cardinals essentially retained their entire defensive unit which was ranked 18th in the country. Lamar Jackson’s entire supporting cast is back as well. The problem? Their schedule is brutal. Home against 4th ranked Florida State, away against 2nd ranked Clemson, and away against 15th ranked Houston. Louisville should win one of those games and sweep the rest of their schedule finishing with another double-digit season heading into their Bowl game.
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