Whitt says Cards ready for big-time

Joe Whitt Jr.

University of Louisville assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Joe Whitt Jr., visited with InsideTheVille.com shortly after the newest class of Cardinals was introduced to the media.

Currently ranked as the nation's 26th best recruiting class by Scout.com, the Louisville football program has secured it's highest rated group on newcomers in the program's history. Louisville cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator Joe Whitt Jr., who was a guest on Inside The Ville Radio on Tuesday evening, said on Wednesday that the newest class of Cardinals is a result of a strong team effort.

"This has been a good year for us," Whitt told InsideTheVille.com shortly after the class was officially introduced to the media. "It was a team effort. There wasn't just one lone ranger going out there and getting all the guys – we did a good job of team recruiting by targeting the guys we wanted and then going and getting them."

With a recruiting haul that includes twelve players ranked in the top 100 at their position nationally, the U of L assistant said that it has helped send a message that Cardinal football is a program that is now on a strong foundation.

"It means that everybody is going to realize that Louisville is here to stay," said Whitt. "We are going to be a national power and we are going to be here for a long time."

However, the impressive class has also sent so-called shockwaves throughout the college football landscape, something that the coaching staff feels that shouldn't have been such a surprise.

"I'm about tired of hearing how people are shocked about Louisville getting some of these players," Whitt continued. "Get used to it. It's not going to be an easy thing to do, but that is why we are here. We want to be on the front-end of winning a national championship. We are going to earn our respect. It's not going to be given to us and we understand that. We understand that there are teams with a lot of tradition, but you have to give credit where credit is due. I thinking this coaching staff, along with Tom Jurich, is taking this football program in the right direction."

Scout.com five-star defensive end Deantwan Whitehead, the top-rated football signee in school history, helped solidify an already impressive class and the relationship that formed between he and Whitt helped bring the nation's third-ranked defensive end to the River City.

"I got real close with that kid," Whitt said. "It would have been hard for me to see him go somewhere else because I have built such a personal relationship with him. He's a strong young man and he went with his heart. He liked it here and he knew that he'd have an opportunity to come here and play. I'm excited to get him on campus. He is a special young man."

Fellow signee L.T. Walker, a Scout.com four-star defensive tackle, also played a role in Peanut's Tuesday decision to become a Cardinal.

"Those two kids really bonded," Whitt said of Whitehead and Walker. "I think it did (play a factor). Those two became good friends from talking on the phone, so I do think it played a part in his decision."

While the ink is barely dry on the 24 new Letter of Intents, the U of L staff is already busy working on the class of 2007 and the program's recruiting coordinator admitted that landing a class such as this year's will help ease the concerns of some of the nation's top juniors.

"We have already started targeting the top kids," Whitt explained. "Once they see that it is okay for them to come to Louisville we have a better chance of getting some of them."

"It's a very exciting time and when we win that national championship here then people won't be so surprised when we get some of these type of kids," he continued. "They'll just say, ‘Louisville just got another great player.'"

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