Gerod Holliman

Louisville safety Gerod Holliman to enter NFL Draft

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One of the top defensive players on Louisville’s roster will enter the 2015 NFL Draft, according to multiple reports Monday. Safety Gerod Holliman, perhaps as expected, will pass on his final year of eligibility at Louisville and take a chance in the NFL waters.

Holliman is coming off a record season with 14 interceptions, which is tied for the NCAA’s single-season record. He will have a chance to set the record with Louisville’s upcoming bowl match-up against Georgia in the Belk Bowl. The first-team All-American safety is expected to be one of the top defensive players on the big board for the NFL Draft next spring after winning the Jim Thorpe Award and being named to multiple All-American teams.

Louisville has not confirmed this decision by Holliman at this time, but this hardly comes as a surprise to anyone. Holliman was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award, which went to Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright.

Walter Camp Foundation recognizes Texas A&M QB Kyle Allen, Louisville’s Holliman

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Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen had quite the performance against Auburn. Making his first career start for the Aggies, Allen helped lead Texas A&M to a big upset on the road against Auburn. His performance in upsetting the Tigers certainly opened some eyes about the future of Texas A&M’s offense and it gained some national respect from the Walter Camp Football Foundation. Allen was named this week’s Offensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation on Sunday.

Allen passed for 277 yards and four touchdowns in the 41-38 victory against the Tigers. The performance ended up helping to restructure the entire College Football Playoff race, but for now Allen and the Aggies will just focus on finishing their season on a strong note. Texas A&M is out of the playoff and the SEC hunt, but building momentum for 2015 can begin now with Allen taking over the offense. As long as he avoids slipping up the way Kenny Hill did, Texas A&M could be gearing up for plenty of more offense in the next few years.

The Walter Camp Football Foundation also honored Louisville safety Gerod Holliman. Holliman intercepted three passes against Boston College Saturday. On top of that Holliman recorded foru tackels and broke up another pass as the Cardinals scored a 38-19 victory in ACC play to improve to 7-3 overall and 5-3 in ACC play. The win helps Louisville secure third place in the ACC Atlantic Division behind Florida State and Clemson, keeping the Cardinals ahead of Boston College in the standings, which could be important when it comes to bowl selection time.

ACC and SEC load up on Jim Thorpe Award semifinalists

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The Butkus Award semifinalists were announced Monday morning, and so too were the semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award. The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced the 15 names on the semifinalist list for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the top defensive back in college football.

The ACC and SEC each have four players appearing on the semifinalist list. The Big 12 and Pac-12 each have two players listed and the ACC, Big Ten and Conference USA each have one player. Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard was named the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award, but an SEC player had won the award the previous four seasons.

Of the players listed as a semifinalist, Louisville’s Gerod Holliman and Senquez Golson of Ole Miss are tied for the nation’s lead in interceptions. Each player has eight picks this season and each has returned one of those turnovers for a touchdown. None of the players with two pick-sixes this season is a semifinalist for the award.

THORPE AWARD SEMIFINALISTS
Sam Carter, TCU, Sr.
Jeremy Cash, Duke, Jr.
Landon Collins, Alabama, Jr.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon, Sr.
Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech, So.
Senquez Golson, Ole Miss, Sr.
Josh Hawkins, East Carolina, Jr.
Gerod Holliman, Louisville, Jr.
Ronald Martin, LSU, Sr.
Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss, Sr.
Jordan Richards, Stanford, Sr.
Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma, So.
Triston Wade, UTSA, Sr.
Trae Waynes, Michigan State, Jr.
PJ Williams, Florida State, Jr.

Louisville relaxes depth concerns with addition of safety James Sample

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Louisville is gearing up for the first season in program history as a member of the ACC. They will do so with a new face in the defensive backfield looking to lock down on opposing receivers. On Tuesday Louisville confirmed the addition of safety James Sample, previously of Washington.

Sample will come to Louisville and be eligible to play right away because he played at the junior college level in 2013. Sample played for Washington in 2011 and 2012 before leaving the program after two injury-riddled seasons. He was a four-star prospect when he was recruited by Steve Sarkisian at Washington, but things just never quite seemed to work out with the Huskies. At Louisville he hopes to be able to stay on the field and make an impact right away. New Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino is happy to have Sample aboard.

“James is an outstanding football player who will help us fill a void on our football team,” Petrino said in a statement released by the university. “He has outstanding size at the safety position and will add immediate depth to this position on our football team.”

Louisville had a need to get deeper at safety, and Sample should help with that need. The Cardinals lose Hakeem Smith to graduation and Calvin Pryor declared early for the 2014 NFL Draft. Smith holds the school record for career starts and Pryor started 32 games, so starting experience in the middle of the defensive backfield is raw for Louisville. The Cardinals have some other options to work with as well. Gerod Holliman is a potential starter with veteran experience behind him. Redshirt freshman Chucky Williams is also expected to be competing for a starting job this fall. The Cardinals lost Terrence Ross to a knee injury last fall, but he could work his way back into the mix as well if healthy.

Sample will have two years of eligibility remaining at Louisville.