Heading into the 2013 football season there are a lot of things to be excited about returning much of the team that comes off a demonstrative performance against SEC powerhouse Florida Gators in the All-State Sugar Bowl. Here are a few variables that will be in play that were not factors during the 2012 season, but could easily be immediate impact guys for the Cards.
Matt Milton - This list is in no particular order, but Milton is listed first for a reason. This past spring the Tennessee transfer was in my opinion the most impressive Wide Receiver on the field. This may be tough to consider with the likes of DeVante Parker, Eli Rogers and Damian Copeland on the roster, but this guy is the real deal. Milton was a 4-Star guy coming out of Mascoutah Illinois and had been clocked with a 4.57 40 yard dash and is now a target with great size at 6′-6″ and 205 lbs. That height is three inches taller than any other WR on the Cards roster.
Gerald Christian - Sticking with transfers we have to look at the Cards likely future starting Tight End. This is a position that the Cards have not utilized a ton, but that may change with Gerald. His most likely competition will be Juco Ryan Hubbell who didn’t turn out to be as strong as I had hoped for the 2012 season. Christian transferred to Louisville from the Florida Gators where he was a 4-Star recruit and the number two tight end in the country. Gerald initially chose Florida over Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma and LSU. If you’re using that list of programs for a gauge in Christian’s game, he is gonna do big things for the Cards.
Robert Clark - Seems like there is a bit of a theme here. Another transfer from Florida, Clark finished his high school career at William Dwyer High School as a 3-Star wide receiver and a 3-Star cornerback. I’m not sure exactly where Clark fits within the wide receiving corp and I believe he is undersized for what Charlie Strong wants at corner coming in at 5′-9″ and 182lbs. Look for Robert to be the guy who may come out of the slot position and be used in certain packages and schemes. Very talented and can not be left off this list.
Michalee Harris - Turn the clock back two years ago, and I was saying the same thing about Harris in camp as I was Matt Milton last year. When Michalee is healthy, this young man is athletically off the charts. Harris missed the 2010 season with a MCL injury. In the 2011 season he was one of the top receivers for the Cards prior to tearing an ACL at the end of the regular season. Struggling with injury ever since then, Harris was not a factor during the 2012 season. If Michalee can stay healthy, he will strongly add to arguably the best wide receiving corp in the country. High school teammate of Teddy Bridgewater, Eli Rogers, Jermaine Reve and Corvin Lamb.
Nick Dawson - The 2012 recruiting class was the class of Linebackers for the Cards highlighted by Dawson, Keith Brown and James Burgess Jr. The clear leader of this unit was Nick Dawson. A 4-Star prospect out of North Carolina and rated by Rivals.com as the number two Inside Linebacker prospect in the country. Keith Brown and James Burgess Jr. had the ability to enroll early at Louisville which propelled them both above Dawson on the depth chart. Fortunately for the Cards, you can’t keep talent like this off the field for long. Look for Nick to be the back up MLB behind Preston Brown as the 2013 kicks off. Not much fall off will be had from the one to two at this position. Remember, Dawson was a more highly touted prospect than both Brown and Burgess and we all saw how well they did as true freshman. There is something to be said for that.