College football’s opening weekend was filled with a plethora of impressive performances, but perhaps none was as stout as Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson’s eight-touchdown performance.
As Louisville cruised to a leisurely 70-14 victory against Charlotte on Thursday, Jackson recorded six passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in one half of play. This dynamic performance catapulted Jackson into the early discussion for Heisman invitees for the 2016 season, but it also signified something much larger — Louisville’s commitment to fielding a high-powered offensive attack.
Over the past several recruiting classes, the Louisville Cardinals have put offensive firepower to the forefront of their recruiting priorities. The team’s 10-touchdown performance is evidence that it has not taken long to implement this fast-paced style of play. Louisville should have athletes capable of winning shootouts for seasons to come since the Cardinals landed two valuable wideouts in the past month in three-stars Justin Marshall and Zion Echols.
Marshall, who stands at 6-foot-2 and 185-pounds, is a prospect from Covington (Ga.) Newton High School and is ranked as the No. 61 wide receiver in this year’s senior class according to 247Sports.com. Using the same metric, Marshall is the highest-ranked member of the Cardinals’ 2017 class, one that is 20 members deep and checks in as the No. 36 class in the country.
What Marshall brings to the table is a big-bodied receiver that is explosive both off the line and into his breaks, has long-striding speed to pull away from defenders and does a good job tracking the football in the air. Marshall figures to project to the outside receiver position, and his blocking ability will also be useful in locking up defensive backs to help spring the Cards’ run game. During 2015, Marshall caught 35 passes for 782 yards and six touchdowns last season for Newton HS.
During the recruiting process, Marshall landed offers from Auburn, Miami, Oregon, Ole Miss and other top programs across the country, eventually totaling 25 scholarships at the time of his announcement. When making his decision, though, Marshall chose Louisville over Tennessee and Maryland, two other teams pitching a strong offense that will utilize players at his position moving forward.
Louisville has three total wide receivers committed in 2017 with Marshall in the fold, so the Cardinals will likely be highly selective at the position going forward. Still, Marshall and the two other recruits make up three of Louisville’s top five players in the cycle.
Roland, on the other hand, is a receiver in the 2018 recruiting class who is listed as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com. While Marshall projects as an outside receiver at the next level, Roland could serve as a pass-catcher on underneath routes or other plays in which the Florida-based player could use his speed to stretch the defense. Roland appears best fit for the slot at 6 feet and 178 pounds, but he also has nearly two years to add size and grow into a college player with a larger frame.
The Cardinals are off to a fast start in 2018. With Roland as a member of the class, Louisville can now lay claim to the No. 10 group of commits in the country according to 247Sports.com. Louisville looks to be an attractive destination for offensive skill players after week one’s throttling of Charlotte, so the Cardinals are in good position to extend an effective recruiting pitch to potential prospects.
According to the parent of an unnamed recruit in Louisville’s 2016 class, the program’s recruiting pitch is a good one. In fact, the source relayed that Louisville plans to utilize its receivers to a high degree moving forward and that the offense should be quick-moving and prolific all season long, a notion that looks to be true after just one game.
Look for Marshall and Roland to become key receivers in future Louisville passing attacks in the future; Roland plans to play baseball in college as well.