As tough as it is to come into a program this late in the recruiting cycle, Petrino seems to be managing it well. He has a great selling point to these recruits: he wins and his team puts up serious offensive statistics.
Strong’s decision to leave for Texas has left the Cards in quite a bind. Currently the class is ranked 48th in the country, according to 247sports.com. I’m sure fans were hoping for a more prestigious class, due to the fact that the program will be competing in the ACC next season.
Let’s take a look at who Petrino is trying to convince to sign with Louisville, he's also doing some re-convincing:
Reconvincing: George Rushing No. 84 WR (247) Isaiah Ford No. 30 WR (247)
It’s not surprising that Petrino is going after these talented wideouts. The offense he brings with him would showcase both of these receivers. Each of these Florida athletes stand over six feet tall and can gain yards after the catch. If the coaching staff could convince these two playmakers to come play for the Cards, I’m sure Petrino would be ecstatic.
Petrino is treating Rushing as a top priority weeks before signing day. His visit to Louisville (Jan 24) went great, but it won’t stop him from seeing TCU this Friday (Jan 31). As much as it makes sense for Rushing to recommit to the Cards because of Petrino’s offense, he’s still intrigued about what the Horned Frogs could offer in terms of playing early. Rushing has made it known that he wants to go somewhere that he can play as a freshman and it’s important that the offense throws the ball—a lot. So he can’t go wrong with either Louisville or TCU. Rushing is expected to announce his decision a few days before signing day (Feb 3).
Ford committed to Louisville last spring, but opened things back up when Strong left for Texas. Now schools like Virginia Tech and Miami (FL) are back in the hunt. However, it’s looking as though he has narrowed it down to the Hokies and the Cardinals. It’s going to come down to the wire for the four-star receiver, both Petrino and Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer are turning up the heat. Beamer reportedly came to Ford’s basketball game a few weeks ago and still has an in-home visit scheduled. South Carolina is also interested in Ford and sources say a visit to Columbia isn’t out of the question. This one will be tough to predict, I’d caution Cards fans to not get their hopes up.
Prediction: Rushing-Louisville Ford-Virginia Tech
Grant Harris No. 18 DE (247)
Considering: Louisville, Mississippi State
Harris is believed to be leaning towards Mississippi State, but that hasn’t discouraged Petrino to make a late surge for the three-star defensive end. Harris blew off his scheduled trip to Miami last weekend to come see Louisville and the Cards want him bad. He seems to have a good relationship with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, which really boosts the Cards’ chances. With the 3-4 defense that Louisville is playing next season, the defensive end would have a chance to make an impact immediately. If Petrino is somehow able to land Harris on signing day, it would be a huge addition to the 2014 class.
Prediction: Mississippi State
Quincy McKinney No. 5 OG (247)
Considering: Louisville, N.C. State, East Carolina
McKinney is one of the top junior college prospects in America. If Louisville is able to land him on signing day, it would be quite an upgrade to the offensive line. Petrino is pitching the idea of playing right away for the Cards; McKinney seems to like what he’s hearing. The three-star offensive lineman is excited for his Jan 31 visit to Louisville, which is also his last scheduled trip.
McKinney was first enrolled at N.C. State in 2012, before he left for junior college. Now he’s considering the Wolfpack again and it seems to be Louisville’s main threat. McKinney is looking for early playing time and to feel comfortable on campus. With Louisville moving to the ACC in 2014, I like the Cards’ odds to receive a commitment on signing day.