James Hearns and Jaire Alexander are playing key roles in Louisville’s defense

By on October 24, 2016

By Dalton Ray–

Entering the season, national media outlets highlighted the star power on the Louisville defense. Keith Kelsey, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Devonte Fields, DeAngelo Brown and Shaq Wiggins filled headlines. The stars have held their own to this point in the season, but two unnamed players have stolen the show.

Jaire Alexander and James Hearns have spent the first seven games tormenting opposing offenses. The duo were looked over entering the year, but now demand attention. With the success both Alexander and Hearns are having, it creates even more of a issue game planning against Louisville’s defense.

Hearns, a redshirt junior, committed to Louisville as a four-star linebacker and a highly recruited player. An injury cost Hearns his freshman year and over the next two seasons, he struggled to get and stay on the field. Appearing in every game last season, Hearns only recorded 12 tackles.

In seven games in 2016, Hearns has 29 tackles, 7. 5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He has cooled off after a very hot start, but is still producing at a high level. Hearns is taking advantage of the star power spread across the U of L defense.

Alexander has established himself as the second most exciting player wearing a Louisville jersey behind Lamar Jackson.

U of L’s primary punt returner, Alexander took his first return to the house against Florida State. On his next return, Alexander was tripped up just before the end zone. Against Duke, the sophomore’s touchdown return was called back due to a block in the back.

Defensively, Alexander has been arguably the most consistent player in the secondary. Alexander’s three interceptions ties him for 16th in the nation.

Alexander and Hearns both are shining for the Cardinals in 2016. Their success is part of the reason Louisville’s defense has been so feared.

Photo by Laurel Slaughter / The Louisville Cardinal 

About Dalton Ray

Sports editor (2016-2018) that is technically award winning.Email: dray@louisvillecardinal.com

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