By Derek DeBurger

Spring has not officially sprung until Louisville runs out onto the field at L&N Stadium for the Spring football game.

Jeff Brohm and company will kick off Friday, giving fans their first opportunity to view the 2024-2025 Cardinals squad. With the number of transfers on last season’s roster and the number of incoming transfers for next season, I want to give you a cheat sheet into what to look for when the Cards take the field.


The position that catches the most eyes just so happens to be the most important. With Louisville’s top three quarterbacks from last season’s depth chart graduating, there will be a new face at the flashiest spot.

Texas Tech transfer Tyler Shough (pronounced shuck) is widely expected to be the day-one starter for the Cards. Shough, 24, will be in his seventh year of college football, so he comes in with a far greater football IQ than most seniors. Shough is also a physically gifted quarterback in nearly every way. After committing to Louisville, Shough’s former head coach at Texas Tech, Joey McGuire, said the Cards were getting a future pro. On Apr 6, McGuire stuck by his adoration of Shough by officiating his wedding.

Look to see how Shough does in the offense if he looks comfortable, and if he seems to be on the same page with his skill players.

After Shough, there is a pool of potential quarterbacks who could be first off the bench. Pierce Clarkson is a former four-star, redshirt freshman who has been highly anticipated since he committed under former coach Scott Satterfield. The son of a prolific quarterback coach, Clarkson is far better technically than most of his contemporaries. While very quick, he stands a bit smaller in stature compared to the ones Brohm prefers, so we’ll see if that affects his playing time.

Harrison Bailey is a former five-star recruit who has been receiving scholarship offers since he was in eighth grade. Bailey is a big quarterback who looks the part and then some whenever he touches a football. The problem is his lack of in-game experience; he’s started three games through his first four seasons of college. There’s likely a reason that he’s had limited chances, but Brohm has a long history of developing players into NFL-caliber quarterbacks.

Brady Allen is a former four-star recruit who followed Brohm from Purdue. Allen is yet another physically imposing presence at quarterback who shows the most experience under Brohm’s offensive system. He’s been very hot and cold in appearances and practice but has had the most opportunities to learn under the coaching staff.

Look to see which of these three quarterbacks sees the field first, and who separates themselves with their play.


The offense should look much more like a normal Brohm-coached offense.

This wide receiver room is deeper than last season with bona fide stars in transfers Caullin Lacy and Ja’Corey Brooks. Chris Bell, who worked his way into the WR2 spot last season, will likely be the third receiver in the lineup adding to the depth. Jadon Thompson and Jimmy Calloway are also returning.

Many people have reported from open practices that there is no one standout receiver on this year’s roster. Lacy and Brooks put up gaudy numbers in their previous stops—South Alabama and Alabama, respectively—so they have the potential. It will be interesting to see if either of them returns to their expected forms. Look to see how they perform against Louisville’s corners on Friday.

Among the tight ends, including returning players Nate Kurisky and Jamari Johnson, and incoming transfers like Jaleel Skinner, look to see how early they enter the offensive.

Compared to last season, the running back room will dip in production, but it’s hard to replace two likely NFL draft picks. Despite this, it’s by no means bad. Louisville returns Maurice Turner and Keyjuan Brown, both extremely athletic backs who are dangerous in open space. Miami transfer Don Cheney is a nice addition that will provide depth and compete for the top spot. Incoming freshman Isaac Brown has been a nice surprise and will likely be utilized in multiple ways this season, even if he is not a top rushing option.

I don’t know exactly what to make of the offensive line, as there is a healthy mix of returning players and new faces. Something notable about the group is that three O-linemen transferred out on the first day of the spring transfer window. Though they likely were not starters, it does hamper the depth.


Louisville, who was already a top-20 defense last season, is returning its two best players.

I expect the defense to be even better this upcoming season.

One of the most effective rushing attackers, Ashton Gillotte, chose to return for his senior season instead of going pro. Gillotte was nearly unstoppable at times and an offseason of practice can only make him better. On the opposite side of Gillotte will likely be Tennessee transfer Tyler Baron. Baron was one of the top targets in the transfer portals, and the two will prove to be a dynamic duo.

The Cards will likely have great depth at the defensive line, but one that excites me the most is Harvard transfer Thor Griffith. Griffith is a freak physically; He weighs in at 320 pounds, runs a 4.95 40-yard dash, and repped out 45 bench press reps. These marks got him ranked eighth on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List before last season, and would’ve had him drafted in the first round had he chosen to go pro.

If Griffith has the year that’s expected of him, he could easily play his way into the top 10 of next year’s NFL draft.

Jaylin Alderman, known for his game-winning pick-six his freshman season, has put his name in the portal recently, so the rotation of linebackers may be in some flux come Friday.

Stanquan Clark and T.J. Quinn have been the standouts in practice, providing good coverage in the running game. I once again expect the linebacker group to be fine.

Quincy Riley, another star who decided to forgo the draft for one more year at Louisville, is the type of talent that elevates the play of everyone around him. He was a shutdown corner last year, and I expect more of the same from him this upcoming season. Look to see him get a few targets in bolstering a strong secondary.

M.J. Griffin is back from a season-ending injury before the season started. Griffin was the best safety last season, and will likely be the best safety this season. It will be interesting to see (if he looks fully healthy) his production.

There will be a lot of question marks and only a few answers leading up to one of the more anticipated seasons in years. Brohm and company look to take a step forward in year two, and the Spring game is just the start.

Photo Courtesy // Justin Casterline, Getty Images