I saw a tweet from a colleague recently claiming Louisville to be a strong program with a number of five-star recruits. I later saw a post on Techsideline pointing out the Cardinals’ success on the trail as similar to the recent recruiting of the Hokies. So which was true?
The Cardinals’ 2017 class is currently ranked 29th in the country by Rivals and has two four-star wide receivers in the class — I wonder why.
The rest of the group consists of 13 three-star prospects and five three-stars. That’s a fairly average class, particularly when compared to the top teams in the ACC like Florida State or Clemson.
When matched against Virginia Tech, the numbers are fairly comparable with the Hokies currently having only 15 commitments for 2017 and the 36th rated class according to Rivals. The Hokies have one four-star prospect, 13 three-stars and just one two-star.
So what about the players on the field currently?
For 2016, Louisville is ranked 36th with two four-stars while the Hokies are 42nd with two four-stars as well. 2015 saw the Cardinals ranked 32nd nationally with three four-star talents including Lamar Jackson and DeVonte’ Fields. The Hokies finished with the 24th best class with an impressive eight four-star players for Tech.
In 2014 Louisville signed no four-stars and was ranked 36th with the Hokies coming in at 26th and another eight four-star recruits.
The two programs are in very different spots right now, and while the Hokies are beginning to get some attention with some big offensive numbers, these programs haven’t been on the same level for the past several years. The main variable one must say has to be coaching, as on paper at least Tech has a slight talent advantage over the Cardinals but on the field the difference is obvious.
Bobby Petrino has shown what having an offensive pedigree can do for a group of players like those at Louisville. The right blend of solid three-star recruits and a key four-star player or two clearly can rise to the top. Of course, Lamar Jackson is a unique talent who could make any team special, but the blueprint for success remains sound and achievable for many programs in the ACC.
Virginia Tech appears to have that offensive-minded plan in place with Justin Fuente and others conference schools like Syracuse and Dino Babers hope to turn things around with similar styles and similar recruiting strategies. Just look at the article below that boasts an impressive list of ACC quarterbacks.
Louisville's Jackson, #Hokies' Evans among #ACC QBs on record paces. https://t.co/dRL7yqA9Kb pic.twitter.com/KRUnTkRzFu
— David Teel (@DavidTeelatDP) September 26, 2016
Louisville’s ability to reel in talent will no doubt increase in the coming years, but to this point it’s clear that they built things the old fashioned way from the ground up, first under Charlie Strong and now Petrino. Many other programs have a chance to do the same.
It’s something that should encourage all coaches and fans in the conference especially as this year’s group appears very balanced to this point. There’s a strong chance that will continue in the coming years with continued solid recruiting.
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