The Second Choice Favorite: Louisville
The Louisville Cardinals were the final team to receive an official visit from Tim Settle, and have since emerged as the second choice favorite behind Virginia Tech. Louisville DL coach Tony Grantham has done a great job of recruiting Settle and his personal connection to Virginia from being a native of Virginia seems like it might be helping him some.
Louisville is looking like a very strong defensive program now under Todd Grantham, and the rise of Louisville football as a quality defensive program has to help. The Cardinals are also boosted with every recruit this year and beyond by the fact that they are now in a power 5 conference being a member of the ACC compared to being a member of the AAC.
The Cardinals will be losing a couple of defensive linemen, and Settle definitely will definitely have a good opportunity of receiving some early playing time with the Cardinals. This is something that Louisville definitely has the advantage on compared to a Virginia Tech team that is returning all its defensive line starters plus a healthy Luther Maddy.
One thing that has probably been used against the Cardinals in recruiting is the mistake that Bobby Petrino made while at Arkansas. Many families want to trust that the coach will have a player’s best interests, and this incident is something that recruiters can use to try to make a recruit feel less comfortable about Settle. The impact of this may be nonexistent, but it could possibly be a factor.
Louisville might be in the ACC, but the Cardinals are not in the same division as Virginia Tech or Virginia which means they do not regularly play in Virginia. Meanwhile, the Cardinals also do not have the same tradition that Virginia Tech and USC have which is another possible factor that can hurt.
The Cardinals definitely have fought their way into contention, and being close enough to Virginia helps limit the proximity to home advantage. Louisville isn’t the favorite, but they definitely have a fairly good chance.
Next: Can the Hokies seal the deal?