- Corey Long, Reporter, RecruitingNation
Early returns for Louisville’s move to the ACC have been positive from the Florida prospects that are either being targeted by the Cardinals or have committed.
Three-star safety Terrence Ross (Apopka, Fla./Wekiva) said he was hoping for this move from the minute it was rumored that Maryland was leaving to go to the Big 10. Initial reports had the ACC set to invite Connecticut, but Louisville received the nod over the Huskies and Cincinnati.
"It’s a great day for Louisville football because the ACC is a little more high profile with schools like FSU and Miami," Ross said. "Those programs have won championships and in the ACC there’s a chance of winning championships.
"It’s exciting football. Programs like North Carolina and Clemson also play exciting football and it’s closer to home."
Louisville’s Florida connection was already strong, with many members of the coaching staff having strong ties to the Sunshine State.
The Cardinals are particularly strong in Miami where they have successfully recruited top talent such as Teddy Bridgewater, James Burgess, Keith Brown and Eli Rogers -- all of whom were committed to Miami before flipping to Louisville.
Louisville’s profile in the state has widened considerably. Three of the nine verbal commitments in the Cardinals’ 2013 recruiting class are from Florida, but not in the talent-rich South Florida area. Commitments from Ross along with four-star prospect Donel Elam (Orange Park, Fla./Fleming Island) and three-star lineman Shamar Johnson (Pensacola, Fla./Pine Forest) show Louisville’s growing presence in the Orlando, Jacksonville and Panhandle areas of the state.
The Cardinals are also in the mix to land ESPN 300 wide receiver Richard Benjamin (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Bay Tech) and three-star linebacker Keith Kelsey (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville). ESPN 150 defensive tackle Maquedius Bain (Davie, Fla./University School) will likely take an official visit to Louisville after his season is finished.
"Louisville is a lot like a Florida school to be honest," Ross said. "The coaches are from down here and they coached at Florida schools so that bring that mentality to the program there and it’s real comfortable for us."
If Louisville can win the Big East, it’s likely it will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl and secure two more weeks of free promotion for the program in the part of the state where it has been so successful.
And starting in 2014 the Cardinals will be linked to two of Florida "big three" as conference foes.
"The fact that we’ll be playing Florida State or Miami or both every year is great," Ross added. "A lot of the Florida kids that go to Louisville get hyped up to play USF because we want to let them know what they missed out on. Playing FSU and Miami is going to be even a bigger deal."