Louisville football: Cards add impact defensive piece to 2020 roster

Louisville football lands another important piece to the 2020 roster.

It looked like the roster was set for Scott Satterfield and the Louisville football program for the 2020 season until they surprisingly added Liberty cornerback transfer Kei’Trel Clark and followed it up by adding Roscoe Johnson, a graduate transfer wide receiver from North Carolina.

They didn’t stop there as on Tuesday the nation’s second best junior college outside linebacker KJ Cloyd announced his intentions to play for Louisville – doing so as a member of the 2020 class making him eligible immediately according to Jody Demling of Cardinal Authority (247 Sports).

The commitment from Cloyd comes just five days after the Cards officially extended a scholarship offer to the outside linebacker, with Derek Nicholson leading the way in his recruitment. Clearly Cloyd liked what he saw as he pulled the trigger, picking the Cards over Texas Tech, Arizona, Ole Miss, Arkansas, and others.

The junior college ranks have been extremely good to Louisville this year as they add Cloyd to a group of commitments that include Trevor Reid, Braden Smith, and Marvin Dallas – all of whom should see the field in 2020. Cloyd is no different.

Playing at Jones County Junior College as a linebacker and safety, Cloyd was one of the most productive players at his position, finishing his freshman season with 46 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Cloyd’s decision to commit and enroll in 2020 comes on the heels of a major decision in the college football that officially moved the junior college season the spring, rather than fall due to spread of COVID-19. As part of that announcement, players who would normally have three years to play two once they arrive at their eventual college destination (meaning two seasons of on field eligibility), they now will have three years to play three (or three full seasons).

There are a variety of pathways that could take a player to the junior college ranks, but the most prominent relating to recruiting tend to be players transferring in after a short stint at a FBS, players arriving after not qualifying academically at their respective universities, and players choosing to go straight to JUCO from high school in order to receive more recruiting attention.

Cloyd is the third of those three routes, and since he won’t have to graduate from Jones before moving on, he should be able to transfer in right away with no issues – meaning he’d be available whenever a season commences.

The linebacker position was already full of depth, both inside and outside, but as we’ve heard from Bryan Brown and plenty of other coaches, having as many guys as possible see the field benefits the defense in a major way.

At 6’2, 215-pounds, Cloyd has good size and is a player who could provide enough versatility to play both inside and outside linebacker. As you might imagine, he has great speed for his size (his HUDL profile lists a 4.52 40-yard dash) and combines it with outstanding tackling, showing the ability to tackle at a high level in the open field.

Talking to 247 Sports about his game, Cloyd said:

“I guess you would consider me a high-motor guy. I’m very intense. I never calm down during the game. I really like to run, I like to get after people and I like to blitz. Football is a violent game, basically the only game where you can repeatedly hit a man and not go to jail. It’s my favorite part of the game.

His desire to blitz is something that has to get Brown, Cort Dennison, and the entire defensive staff excited, considering how much trouble they had last season getting a consistent pass-rush. He’ll be another unique weapon that can be used in pass-rushing situations and a player that can easily play in a loaded box against the road game. His motor will also be something greatly desired by a defense that is designed to wreak havoc.

Next: 3 trap games on Louisville's schedule in 2020

Louisville fans should be excited about the potential of the defense in 2020 and adding a guy like Cloyd, who by all accounts should be able to see the field right away in some form or fashion. He’s overcome a lot during his life thus far, including suffering a gruesome injury in high school that nearly led to the amputation of his arm as well as only receiving one offer (from Jones CC) coming out of high school in Mississippi, and he uses that as fuel to continue getting better.

Load Comments