U of L Football: Top Newcomers

James Sample

The University of Louisville football team welcomes Miami, Fla., into Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Monday for the season opener. Here's a look at a few newcomers that should make an impact this fall.

The University of Louisville football team has enough experience at most positions that head coach Bobby Petrino isn't expected to use a ton of true freshmen this season.

But the Cardinals will have a few newcomers sprinkled in the mix.

Here's a look at five top newcomers:

James Sample: The former Washington safety spent last season at a junior-college and will come in and help right away at safety. Sample enrolled late but picked up the defensive scheme and his assignments right away at the start of fall camp. He has progressed a ton since he arrived earlier this month and is expected to be a key contributor on defense.

Pio Vatuvei: Another former Washington transfer who spent time at a JUCO and arrived late. Both Vatuvei and Sample and in the same boat and have really impressed the coaches. Vatuvei is a big, strong defensive lineman who is listed as the backup on the left and right ends of the defensive front. He's smart and played for a JUCO coach who learned a lot of his scheme from U of L defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. Expect a big season from Vatuvei, who could eventually crack the starting lineup.

L.J. Scott: The true freshman running back from Marion, Ohio, ran for 128 yard and one touchdown in the spring game. He enrolled at U of L in January - before Bobby Petrino was hired - and was a hit early on with the strength staff and his teammates. He impressed all spring and will get carries out of the backfield this fall. Scott could also play a little fullback this season and should be the feature back of the future for the Cardinals.

Charles Standberry: A true freshman tight end, Standberry is listed as the No. 3 tight end on the depth chart and should get used. He's likely to be used a little more than Keith Towbridge was last season as the No. 3. Standberry has great size and really good hands, plus at 6-3, 231 is still fast enough to get down field and win battles with DBs. Don't be shocked if he's the most used true freshman this season other than Scott.

Trumaine Washington/De'Eric Culver: The Cardinals are likely to need help with depth in the secondary and true freshman Washington and Culver are farther a long than anyone else. Washington is listed at second-team at left cornerback, while Culver is No. 3 on the right side. Both are talented enough and ready to contribute right away for U of L.

There are a few more who could see playing time as true freshmen - Micky Crum is the most likely, while JUCO transfers Kelby Johnson and Trevon Young will also be key players on the field for the Cardinals this season.

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