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    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Football Facebook Page
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    Often times this past season I wondered how much of the University of Louisville football team’s success was due to coach Bobby Petrino, and how much was because of his predecessor, Charlie Strong.

    This past weekend’s NFL Draft made me wonder even more.

    A school-record 10 (second only to traditional power Florida State’s 11) former Cardinals were chosen in the three-day, seven-round event, and Strong’s fingerprints were all over UofL’s strong draft.   

    Nine of the 10 Louisville players picked were recruited, and coached, by Strong and his staff before he and several of his assistants left for the University of Texas in January of 2014. The only one who didn’t do either was safety James Sample, who transferred to UofL from a junior college last April.

    Of the nine, eight were part of UofL’s 2011 recruiting class, which was ranked 29th nationally (Alabama was No. 1 and FSU was No. 2) by Included in that class was a four-star quarterback named Teddy Bridgewater, who was rated the 113th-best prospect overall. He, of course, went on to be a first-round draft pick last year.

    Wide receiver DeVante Parker, who was a three-star recruit out of Ballard High School, became UofL’s second first-round pick from the 2011 recruiting class when he was selected 14th overall by the Miami Dolphins last Thursday.

    The next night offensive tackle Jamon Brown (another homegrown talent from Fern Creek High School), offensive guard John Miller and outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin, were chosen in the the draft’s third round. All three were three-star recruits, according to Rivals, when they arrived on campus.

    The next day Sample was selected in the fourth round before five more of Strong’s guys were taken. Outside linebacker Deiontrez Mount, cornerback Charles Gaines and defensive end B.J. Dubose, who all were three-star recruits (Gaines as a wideout), were all sixth-round selections. Then in the final round safety Gerod Holliman - a four-star recruit who was actually rated 17 spots ahead of Bridgewater in 2011 - and tight end Gerald Christian, who transferred in from Florida in 2012, were picked.

    “I’m very happy for all the players who were selected over the last three days,” Petrino said in a press release Saturday. “To have a total of 10 players drafted, it’s a testament to the hard work these guys put in during their time at Louisville. I wish all these guys the best of luck, and thank them for all their contributions to our program. I look forward to watching them during their NFL careers.”

    And although some of his players were jilted by Strong’s quick exit a couple of years ago - Parker tweeted “Idc about him leaving, he could have at least told us before. Not mad at him though” back then - it’s evident that many of these former Cardinals wouldn’t be in the position they are in now if not for Strong and his staff.

    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Football Facebook Page

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