Class of 2017 three-star defensive end Jabreel Stephens has committed to the Louisville Cardinals, as of Wednesday night. At 6’3″ and 228 pounds, it’s unlikely Stephens will stay in that defensive end spot, but will most likely stand up and play outside linebacker as his frame continues to fill out.
Perhaps a testament to the depth of the recruiting soil in Florida, Stephens was ranked as the 144th best player in the state by 247sports composite rankings, and he still raked in 18 offers from schools such as: Florida, Iowa, Cal, North Carolina, and Maryland. But amidst the Louisville Cardinals’ dynamic start to the 2016 college football season, they’ve undoubtedly become an attractive commitment option, which Stephens took them up on on Wednesday.
The commitment gives the Cardinals their 21st player in the 2017 recruiting class, which ranks sixth in the ACC. Twenty of the players are three-star commitments. Stephens becomes the second defensive end to commit, alongside Kam Jones from Suwanee, Georgia.
The accolades of quarterback Lamar Jackson have certainly not hurt the optics on Louisville, no matter what position recruits play. With head coach Bobby Petrino playing an up-tempo, attacking brand of football, those that are a bit under-the-radar due to their lack of stars, have found an opportunity at Louisville to take on that top level of competition that passed them by.
Going forward, the Cardinals are looking to become top-tier players in the ACC. They’ll open the 2018 season against the Alabama Crimson Tide, and then play a home-and-home series against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish starting in 2019.