Twenty-five prospective student athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their football and academic careers at the University of Louisville, head football coach Bobby Petrino announced Wednesday.
The Cardinals, who are heading to the BIG EAST Conference next season, are coming off an 11-1 season and a victory in the 2004 Liberty Bowl. Louisville ended the season ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 7 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
"This is another extraordinary group of young men who love football and have a passion to get their degrees," said Petrino, who is 20-5 after two years as coach of the Cardinals. "It is a group that is thrilled by the opportunity to come to the University of Louisville and help this program continue to grow."
The 2005 class includes seven players from Kentucky, five from Florida, four from Alabama, two from North Carolina and New Jersey and single players from Pennsylvania, Mississippi, California, Georgia and Tennessee.
"I think the strength of the class is that we meet our needs," Petrino said. "I thought our assistant coaches did an outstanding job in filling our holes in the defensive backfield defensive line and offensive line. We also wanted to continue to improve our team speed and athleticism, and I feel we accomplished that."
Breaking the class down by position, there are six defensive backs and defensive linemen, four offensive linemen and wide receivers, and one linebacker, running back, tight /files/storyimages/and quarterback.
The Cardinals filled some immediate needs on the offensive and defensive lines by adding three junior-college transfers. Marcel Benson is a talented offensive lineman from San Diego Mesa College and will help with depth at offensive tackle. He started 20 straight games on the offensive line and was a junior-college All-American. Zach Anderson from East Mississippi Junior College might be the jewel of this class. A two-year starter at defensive end, Anderson recored 137 tackles and 15 sacks in two seasons. Linebacker/strong safety Nate Harris was another prized recruit for the Cardinals. An All-American at linebacker, Harris recorded 86 tackles in 2004 and 89 in 2003.
With its entrance into the BIG EAST, Louisville landed two big-time players from New Jersey and Don Bsco Prep in Brian Roche and Darius Mann. Roche, one of the top linemen in the country, was ranked as the 21st best prospect in the country and was an All-State performer. Mann led Don Bosco with 90 tackles and a pair of sacks.
The state of Kentucky was favorable to the Cardinals with seven players signing from the Bluegrass State. Earl Heyman of Ballard High School is one of the highest ranked defensive lineman in the country and was a U.S. Army All-American. Heyman finished his career with 212 tackles and 32 sacks. Lamar Alston of Paducah Tilghman High School is one of the best players in the state. A first team All-State performer, Alston recorded 14 career interceptions and was listed as one of the top 15 players in the state. Mike Donoghue of Covington Catholic High School fills a need on the offensive line. A three-year starter, Donoghue was a first team All-State selection by the Courier-Journal and Lexington-Herald. Maurice Grinter from Fairdale High School is the Cardinals lone signee at running back. Grinter rushed for 1,467 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior and was a first team All-State selection. JaJuan Spillman was one of the few players to ever start all four years at Pleasure Ridge Park High School. Spillman ran for 1,347 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior and recorded 22 touchdowns overall. Blake Boyd of North Hopkins High School recorded 90 tackles on defense and was a first team All-Conference performer. Stephen Garr from Male High School is the final signee from the state of Kentucky. Garr was an All-District performer after catching 32 passes for 528 yards and four touchdowns.
The Cardinals hit the state of Florida hard for the second straight year, landing five signees. Including Harris, Petrino signed Jonathan Holston from Rickards High School, Craig James from Robert E. Lee High School, Travis Norton of Lincoln High School and E.K. Sawyerr of Godby High School.
The state of Alabama saw four players sign with the Cardinals in Michael Adams of Pelham High School, Steven Black of Vestavia Hills High School, Careg Bonner of Huntsville High School and L.D. Scott from Auburn High School. Bonner fills a need a tight /files/storyimages/for the Cardinals, while Scott is a big defensive tackle who will add much-needed depth on the defensive front.
Trent Guy of West Charlotte High School and Scott Long of South Brunswick High School signed from North Carolina. Guy, a speedster, caught 36 passes for 609 yards and five touchdowns, while Long, another outstanding track performer, is a solid wide receiver with 31 receptions for 507 yards.
Josh Byrom of Montour High School will enroll at the school in January and is re-habbing from an injury. Byrom was a four-year starter and named a Top 22 player in the state of Pennsylvania.
Richard Raglin of Southside High School is the single player from Georgia. Raglin is a great find in the defensive backfield. At 6-2 205 pounds, Raglin registered 98 tackles and five interceptions as a senior.
Lee Sweeney of Friendship Christian High School is the lone quarterback signee. The 6-3, 226-pounder led the state of Tennessee in passing last year and threw for 5,173 yards during his career.
2005 Louisville Football Recruiting Class
|Michael Adams ||DE||6-3||230||Pelham, Ala./Pelham|
|Lamar Alston||DB||6-0||180||Paducah, Ky./Paducah Tilghman|
|Zach Anderson||DE||6-4||270||Scooba, Miss./East Mississippi CC|
|Marcel Benson||OL||6-6||321||San Diego, Calif./San Diego Mesa College|
|Steven Black||WR||6-3||204||Vestavia Hills, Ala./Vestavia Hills|
|Careg Bonner||TE||6-4||230||Hunstville, Ala./Huntsville|
|Blake Boyd||DE||6-3||235||Madisonville, Ky./North Hopkins|
|Josh Byrom||OL||6-5||250||McKees Rocks, Pa./Montour|
|Mike Donoghue||OL||6-3||296||Covington, Ky./Covington Catholic|
|Stephen Garr||DB||6-1||190||Louisville, Ky./Male|
|Maurice Grinter||RB||6-2||220||Louisville, Ky./Fairdale|
|Trent Guy||WR||5-9||165||Charlotte, N.C./West Charlotte|
|Nate Harris||LB/SS||6-1||220||Miami, Fla./Dodge City CC|
|Earl Heyman||DT||6-3||265||Louisville, Ky./Ballard|
|Jonathan Holston||DE||6-6||230||Tallahassee, Fla./Rickards|
|Craig James||WR||5-10||160||Jacksonville, Fla./Robert E. Lee|
|Scott Long||WR||6-2||205||Southport, N.C./South Brunswick|
|Darius Mann||DB||5-11||190||Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep|
|Travis Norton||DB||6-0||180||Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln|
|Richard Raglin||DB||6-2||205||Atlanta, Ga./Southside|
|Brian Roche||OL||6-5||285||Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep High School|
|E.K. Sawyerr||DB||6-0||175||Tallahassee, Fla./Godby|
|L.D. Scott||DT||6-2||260||Auburn, Ala./Auburn|
|JaJuan Spillman||WR/DB||6-0||165||Louisville, Ky./Pleasure Ridge Park|
|Lee Sweeney||QB||6-3||226||Lebanon, Tenn./Friendship Christian|
*as of 4:00 PM ET
Michael Adams * DE
6-3 * 230
Played defensive /files/storyimages/for Pelham High School... two-year starter... voted All-County after recording 78 tackles, six sacks and 14 tackles for loss as a senior... selected first team All-Shelby County... voted first team All-Metro... named team captain and voted team's Defensive Player of the Year... rated as the No. 24 overall prospect in the state of Alabama... selected Honorable-mention 6A All-State by the Alabama Sports Writers Association... selected to play in the North-South All-Star Game... started 10 games as a junior, recording 59 tackles and six sacks... also competed on the basketball team... leading scorer and rebounder on the basketball team for the last three years... chose Louisville over Clemson, UAB, Southern Miss, Ole Miss and Memphis.
Lamar Alston * DB
6-0 * 180
Paducah, Ky./Paducah Tilghman High School
Three-year starter at cornerback for Paducah Tilghman High School... recorded two interceptions despite missing several games as a senior... totaled 14 career interceptions... named to the 3A All-Kentucky Preps first team on defense... named one of the top 50 players in the state of Kentucky by high school coaches... selected to Kentucky Top 15 Postseason List... named first team All-State by the Louisville Courier-Journal... voted first team All-State by the Associated Press... named to the All-Southern Team by the Orlando Sentinel... rated the nation's No. 70 defensive back prospect by Scout .com... sprinter on the state title winning track team... chose Louisville over Alabama, Wake Forest, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.
Zach Anderson * DE
6-4 * 270
Scooba, Miss./East Mississippi CC
Two-year starter at East Mississippi Community College... recorded 85 tackles and 10 sacks as a junior college freshman... registered 52 tackles, five sacks and two passes broken up in 2004... rated by Rivals.com as a three-star recruit... has a 330-pound bench press, 550-pound squat and can run the 40-yard dash in just 4.8 seconds... named the JUCO Defensive Player of the Year in North-Mississippi game in 2004... voted first team All-State and All-Region selection as a sophomore... Scout.com's No. 2 ranked junior college defensive line prospect... former high school quarterback... chose Louisville over Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Texas A & M and Southern Miss.
Marcel Benson * OL
6-6 * 321
San Diego, Calif./San Diego Mesa College
Voted first team All-Foothills Conference at San Diego Mesa College... earned all-Sunrise Region honors... named the squad's Most Valuable Offensive Lineman... rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com...started 20 straight games at offensive tackle... named the team's Freshman of the Year... voted second team J.C. Grid-Wire Junior College All-America team... voted a Region III All-California first team on offense... named team's Co-MVP and Offensive Lineman of the Year... selected first team All-State selection by jucaltransfer.com... attended Ed Dorado High School in Las Vegas, Nevada... chose Louisville over Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State and Maryland.
Steven Black * WR
6-3 * 204
Vestavia Hills, Ala./Vestavia Hills High School
Caught 41 passes for 802 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior at Vestavia High School... also carried 12 times for 126 yards and three touchdowns; returned 17 kicks for 468 yards and two touchdowns... listed by Rivals.com as a three-star recruit, and was ranked the No. 15 prospect in the state of Alabama after his senior season... caught 87-career passes for 1,867 yards (21.5 ypc.) and 12 touchdowns... named to the Mobile Register's Elite 18 "Best of the Rest..." named to the Super All-State team as a senior by the Birmingham News... caught 38 passes for 712 yards and two touchdowns as a junior... first cousin of Philadelphia Eagle wide receiver Terrell Owens... chose Louisville over Ole Miss, Memphis, Alabama, Clemson, LSU.
Careg Bonner * TE
6-4 * 230
Huntsville, Ala./huntsville High School
Outstanding performer at Hunstsville High School... caught 141 passes for 2,168 yards during his three-year career... ranked No. 57 by Rivals.com... recorded 40 receptions for 700 yards as a senior... runs the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds and boasts a 39-inch vertical leap... rated as the No. 25 player in Alabama by Rivals.com... also rated the No. 13 tight /files/storyimages/prospect in the country by Tom Lemming... two-year Honorable Mention All-State selection... voted All-Metro for the last two seasons... was a three-year All-City and All-Region selection... All-Metro honoree in basketball... also competed on the baseball team... chose Louisville over Kentucky, South Carolina and Marshall.
Blake Boyd * DE
6-3 * 235
Madisonville, ky./North hopkins High School
Two-way performer at North Hopkins High School... earned Most Valuable Player accolades after leading North Hopkins to a 10-3 record... team advanced to the regional championships... earned first team All-Conference accolades in his 26-team league... posted a 280-pound bench press and ran a 4.7 second forty-yard dash this year... two-time All-District honoree... recorded 90 tackles and six sacks during his senior campaign... selected to the Courier-Journal All-State first team... voted first team All-State by the Associated Press... rushed and passed for over 1,000 yards... earned the team's Leadership Award... chose Louisville over Kentucky and South Carolina.
Josh Byrom * TE/OL
6-5 * 250
McKees Rocks, Pa/Montour High School
Four-year starter at Montour High School... named to the Top 22 as a senior... played defensive line and tight end... earned second team All-State accolades despite missing most of the season with an injury... selected first team All-Conference... voted Honorable Mention All-Conference during his sophomore and junior seasons... listed as the 38th-best player in Pennsylvania by Rivals.com... caught 27 passes for 340 yards and five touchdowns as a senior... caught 17 passes for 199 yards and five touchdowns as a junior... earned second team Associated Press AAA All-State honors as a senior and was named to the Harrisburg Patriot-News Platinum "33" squad... chose Louisville over Akron, Michigan State and Kentucky.
Mike Donoghue * OL
6-3 * 296
Covington, Ky./Covington Catholic High School
Three-year starter at tackle at Covington Catholic High School... guided team to an 8-5 record before falling in the third round of the state playoffs... selected Honorable Mention by the Orlando Sentinel and All-Region by PrepStar... voted top Offensive Lineman.. earned first All-Bluegrass Preps.com... voted first team All-Northern Kentucky... first team All-State selection by the Louisville Courier-Journal and Lexington Herald-Leader... voted one of the top 24 players in the state... selected as the state's top offensive lineman in Class AAA... did not allow a sack in three seasons... ranked No. 11 on Rivals.com's Kentucky Top 15 for 2004... has participated in boxing.. chose Louisville over Kentucky, Boston College, Cincinnati, Northwestern and Indiana.
Stephen Garr * DB
6-1 * 190
Louisville, Ky./Male High School
Two-year starter at wide receiver at Male High School... caught 32 passes for 528 yards and four touchdowns as a senior... rushed 17 times for 125 yards and two scores... selected first team All-District... voted Honorable Mention All-State... also played linebacker... guided team to a 9-3 record and an appearance in the state playoffs... standout performer in track and field... recorded 38 catches for 464 yards and six touchdowns during his junior season.
Maurice Grinter * RB
6-2 * 220
Louisville, Ky./Fairdale High` School
Rushed for 1,467 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior at Fairdale High School... averaged 133.4 yards per game... named Class 3A All-KentuckyPreps first team... named to Inside Kentucky's top list... rushed for 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns in just five games and recorded 51 tackles and nine interceptions as a junior... voted first team All-State by the Lexington Herald-Leader and third team All-State selection by the Louisville Courier-Journal... rated the No. 6 prospect in the state by KentuckyPrepReport.com... nominated for Mr. Basketball... ranked as the nation's No. 14 fullback prospect by Tom Lemming and No. 105 on Mobile Register's Super Southeast 120... earned All-District honors as a defensive back and All-State Honorable Mention in 2002... was an All-State Honorable Mention running back as a junior... chose Louisville over Nebraska, Tennessee, Kentucky and Baylor.
Trent Guy * WR
5-9 * 165
Charlotte, N.C./West Charlotte High School
Two-year starter at West Charlotte High School... also outstanding track and field performer... caught 36 passes for 609 yards and five touchdowns as a senior.... rushed 28 times for 138 yards and a score... named the team's offensive Most Valuable Player... selected All-Conference and All-County... returned five kicks for touchdowns as a junior... averaged almost 40.0 a punt and kick return... earned All-Conference special teams honors... played only two seasons of high school football after breaking his arm and transferring from Martin High School.
Nate Harris * LB/SS
6-1 * 220
Miami, Fla./Dodge City Community College
Two-year starter at Dodge City Community College... team leader in tackles with 86... also recorded four tackles for loss and three interceptions... registered 12 tackles in games against Independence and Coffeyville... recorded 11 stops and one interception versus Fort Scott... earned first team All-Jayhawk Conference accolades... recorded 89 tackles, six sacks, one interception, and four fumble recoveries in 2003... Junior College Grid-Wire All-American honorable mention selection as a sophomore... ranked the No. 74 prospect nationally by Scout.com as a high school senior... rated No. 2 junior college linebacker prospect by Scout.com... chose Louisville over Arizona, Florida State, Kansas State, LSU and Mississippi State.
Earl Heyman * DT
6-3 * 265
Louisville, Ky./Ballard High School
Finished high school career with 212 tackles, 32 sacks and 50 tackles for loss at Ballard High School... first team All-State selection by the Louisville Courier-Journal and Lexington Herald-Leader... top defensive vote-getter on the CJ All-State team... starter in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl... rated the nation' s No. 8 defensive /files/storyimages/by Scout.com... ranked the No. 42 overall prospect nationally by SuperPrep.com... collected 92 tackles and 16 sacks in 2004... made 78 tackles, 20 for loss and 12 sacks as a junior... chose Louisville over Indiana, Kentucky, Clemson, Boston College, Purdue and Michigan State.
Johnathan Holston * DE
6-6 * 230
Tallahassee, Fla./Rickards High School
Three-year starter at defensive /files/storyimages/at Rickards High School... guided Rickards to a first round loss in the state playoffs... rated the No. 78 defensive /files/storyimages/prospect nationally by Scout.com... ranked the No. 86 prospect in Florida by the Orlando-Sentinel... recorded 52 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks as a senior... also forced two fumbles, recovered one fumble for a touchdown and broke up two passes... selected to play in Taleco All-Star Game.
Craig James * WR
5-10 * 160
Jacksonville, Fla./Robert E. Lee High School
Two-year starter at Robert E. Lee High School... carried 86 times for 796 yards and six touchdowns as a senior... recorded 28 tackles at cornerback... rushed 72 times for 710 yards as a junior... clocked as fast as 4.32 seconds in the forty-yard dash at the University of Florida football camp... recorded 72 tackles and four interceptions as a junior... returned kicks and played runningback and wide receiver... selected to play in the NFL Global Junior Championship... chose Louisville over Florida, Vanderbilt, East Carolina and Middle Tennessee State.
Scott Long * WR
6-2 * 205
Southport N.C./South Brunswick High School
Played three seasons at South Brunswick High School... recorded 31 receptions for 507 yards and seven touchdowns... averaged 16.4 yards per catch... selected as an alternate for the North Carolina Shrine Bowl and earned All-County honors in 2004... received all-conference and all-county honors his senior year for his play at wide receiver... selected All-County honors his sophomore year for his play at defensive back... outstanding performer on the track and field team... chose Louisville over Wake Forest and Clemson.
Darius Mann * DB
5-11 * 190
Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep High School
Led Don Bosco Prep High School with 90 tackles, including eight for a loss and two sacks in 2004... rushed for 527 yards and eight touchdowns, plus had five catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns as a senior... helped team to No. 2 national ranking and an appearance in the state championship game... rated the nation's No. 45 safety prospect by Scout.com... rated No. 22 in Rivals' New Jersey Top 30... selected Honorable Mention All-State and first team All-League... chosen second team All-Bergen County... voted second team North Jersey... chose Louisville over Alabama, Iowa, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Connecticut, Indiana and North Carolina.
Travis Norton * Db
6-0 * 180
Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln High School
Two-year starter at Lincoln High School... recorded 42 tackles, broke up seven passes and had one interception as a senior... caught 12 passes for 240 yards, while also recording 35 tackles and eight passes defended as a junior... voted Honorable Mention All-Big Ben... named the team's Co-Defensive Most Valuable Player... rated the No. 75 cornerback prospect nationally by Scout.com... finished third in the state in the 4 X 400... ran a 48.7 400-meters... chose Louisville over Oklahoma, Iowa State, Penn State, Syracuse and Central Florida.
Richard Raglin * DB
6-2 * 205
Atlanta, Ga./Southside high school
Four-year varsity starter at Southside High School... recorded 30 catches for 415 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 468 yards and three scores... named the team's Defensive Most Valuable Player... registered 98 tackles and five interceptions during his senior campaign... selected All-City by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution... voted first team All-Conference... earned first team All-State honors as a junior... recorded 50 catches for 750 yards and six touchdowns as a junior... led the team in tackles with 105 and six interceptions... returned one for a touchdown... chose the Cardinals over South Carolina, North Carolina, Tulane and East Carolina.
Brian Roche * OL
6-5 * 285
Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep High School
Considered one of the top linemen in the country... ...ranked the No. 12 prospect in New Jersey for 2005 ... ranked as the nation's No. 21 offensive tackle prospect in 2005... was named Associated Press All-State, all-Parochial, all-League, and All-North Jersey as a junior and senior ... played both defensive and offensive tackle at Don Bosco Prep (N.J.)... helped team to 23-game winning streak, New Jersey state titles as sophomore and junior and to New Jersey Group 4 state title game (and 10-2 record) in 2004 as senior . . . first-team New Jersey All-State pick . . . rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com... chose Louisville over Notre Dame, Florida, NC State and Michigan State.
E.K. Sawyerr * DB
6-0 * 175
Tallahassee, Fla./Godby High School
Two-year starter at Godby High School... ranked 66th by Rivals.com... voted to the state of Florida top 100 plostseason list... also started two games as a sophomore... registered 51 tackles, two interceptions and eight pass break-ups as a senior... named to the All-Big Ben team... selected to the All-District team... credited with 21 tackles and 12 pass break-ups during his junior season... guided his team to the playoffs during his junior and senior campaigns... four-year member of the track team and three-year contributor on the weight-lifting team... chose Louisville over North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Central Florida.
L.D. Scott * DT
6-2 * 260
Auburn, Ala./Auburn High School
Two-year starter at Auburn High School... missed four games as a senior with an ankle injury... recorded 65 tackles and four sacks as a senior... two-time All-Conference performer... selected team's Most Valuable Defensive Linemen and Defensive Most Valuable Player... rated the No. 21 prospect in Alabama by SuperPrep.com... recorded 70 tackles, 30 tackles for loss and six sacks as a junior... boasted a 335-pound max bench and a 465-pound max squat at the Atlanta NIKE camp last May... finished second in the state in the shot put... runs a quick 4.8-second forty-yard dash... chose Louisville over Troy, Mississippi State and Mississippi.
JaJuan Spillman * WR/DB
6-0 * 165
Louisville, Ky./PRP High School
One of the few players in the history of Pleasure Ridge Park High School to start all four years... rushed for 1,347 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior... averaged 6.9 yards a rush... recorded 22 touchdowns... ran two kicks back for touchdowns... caught 20 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown... registered 28 tackles and a team-high five interceptions... named first team All-District at defensive back... two-time All-District performer as a kick returner... voted third team All-State and first team All-Metro... nominated for Mr. Football and Basketball in the state of Kentucky... won the team's Tough Nails Award (for never coming off the field)... given the team Leadership Award as a junior... ran for 883 yards and 10 scores as a junior... chose Louisville over Kentucky, Iowa and Purdue.
Lee Sweeney * QB
6-3 * 226
Lebanon, Tenn./Friendship Christian High School
Two-year starter at quarterback at Friendship Christian High School... threw for 5,173 yards in two seasons as the starter... completed 63.2 percent of his throws as a senior, completing 174-of-275 passes for 2,819 yards and 30 touchdowns... only tossed three interceptions... named a finalist for Tennesse's Mr. Football... led the state in passing... selected the Region's most Valuable Player... selected the Offensive Player of the Year... nominated by the Tennessean as the Offensive Player of the Year... two-time All-Region selection... guided team to an 11-2 record, losing in the third round of the playoffs... threw for 2,354 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior... three-year starter on the baseball team... recorded a 22-2 record as a pitcher... chose Louisville over Arizona State, Connecticut, Miami (Fl.), and Hawaii.