The efforts towards putting together Louisville's 2016 recruiting class have been consistent since the ink hit the paper for the 2015 group in February. Methodically, the Cardinals have built their class enjoying a spurt of five commitments since July 16 including two on Thursday, linebacker Tabarius Peterson and wide receiver Keion Wakefield.
Louisville moved the needle on Peterson’s previous announced timeline of late August landing him over offers from Duke, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, South Florida, Memphis, North Carolina, Iowa, Iowa State, Cal and Illinois among others.
Peterson is a two-way star for Tucker (Ga.) High School using his 6-foot-3, 220-pound, frame with his 4.6 speed at tight end and linebacker. He projects as an outside linebacker/defensive end at the next level. Peterson stood out as a top performer during Louisville’s Friday Night Camp (July 17) with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham giving extra attention to the Georgia native.
Wakefield is a true slot and inside receiver that Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino can use to exploit defenses in the ACC. Wakefield may be undersized (5-10, 170), but his 4.45 speed is perfect for dragging across the field from one side to the other gaining separation from corners or creating a mismatch with an outside linebacker or safety covering a zone. He is also an ideal fit as a punt returner.
Louisville Male High School has been consistent with their use of Wakefield over the last two years, getting 41 receptions for 888 yards with 12 scores as a sophomore and 40 receptions for 736 yards and 13 scores in 2014.
Before his verbal commitment Wakefield had more schools showing interest in him than offers, stunted by many believing he was going to stay home for college. Kentucky, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana and Cincinnati all offered but teams like UCLA, Notre Dame, Florida, Alabama, Clemson and Oregon all showed some level of interest at one time or another. During his announcement at Male High on Thursday he had three caps out, picking Louisville over Indiana, Purdue and Kentucky.
The Cardinals now have 17 verbal commitments to their 2016 recruiting class with players from eight different states filling the class. The focus of Louisville’s early recruiting efforts have been on the offensive side of the ball, where up to 11 players could line up once on campus.
— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @HogManinLA.