Louisville football: The 50 greatest Cardinals of all time

Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals
Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

In the up-and-down history of Louisville football, the one constant has been the program continuing to produce great players. We break down the top 50 Cardinals of all time.

In the 107-year history of Louisville football, the program has seen a number of incredible players come through and leave their mark on the program forever.

Though Louisville football is far from a historical powerhouse program, the Cardinals have made significant progress over the last three decades. However, the foundation was built on the backs of not only some of the best players in school history but many players who are regarded as some of the best of all time.

It should certainly be mentioned that any list of this nature will be entirely subjective. Over 100 years of football statistics, video and moments to break down can make creating the perfect list a tough task. However, it’s one that we tackled head-on.

We read countless articles from decades before we were even born, watched dozens of hours of old tape and highlights and sorted through the record books long enough to memorize rosters of teams we never saw play in person.

It took a lot of brain-power, tooling with and reworking. It’s possibly (definitely) controversial, but here it is the 50 greatest Louisville Cardinals football players of all time.

Victor Anderson, Louisville Cardinals
Victor Anderson, Louisville Cardinals. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

We begin the list with one of the greatest running backs to come out of the City of Louisville, Victor Anderson.

The St. Xavier product was a fantastic fit on the field and helped the Cards smoothly bridge the gap from the Steve Kragthorpe era to the Charlie Strong years as a veteran leader.

Anderson was best known for his great vision out of the backfield and his tremendous footwork, that helped him make an immediate impact and created sustained excellence, even throughout an injury-filled career.

In an era filled with uncertainty about the football program’s direction, Anderson was a consistent force for the Cards. He had a terrific freshman season under Kragthorpe where he was an all-conference performer during a time when the rest of the team around him had not bought in.

Anderson suffered a number of injuries during his career that set him back. The Cardinals ultimately turned to all-purpose back Bilal Powell more often in his junior and senior seasons. Still, Anderson was a dangerous change-of-pace back who was a problem as a receiver out of the backfield and on kick-off returns.

Anderson finished his five-year career with 2,828 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns while boasting a gaudy 5.2 yards-per-carry average.

He became the first player in school history to win Big East Rookie of the Year. Anderson still ranks among the top 15 in school history in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.