As part of a celebration to the upcoming start of spring football, we will be kicking off our positional preview for the 2021 Cardinals. We will go through every position group and highlight potential starters and what they may bring to the table in 2021. There are a ton of new and old faces to pay attention to across the entire Louisville football roster.
With the NCAA’s ruling to allow an extra year of eligibility for all of those competing in fall sports, Louisville football was a huge beneficiary. Namely, the offensive line was the positional unit that returns a ton of talent this year. In fact, they bring back the entire starting unit from a year ago.
Additionally, the Cardinals added an impact transfer with Virginia Tech interior offensive lineman Bryan Hudson making the move to Louisville. This is the deepest offensive line in recent memory for the Cardinals and there should be plenty of competition to go around.
Let’s see how the offensive room stacks up for 2021
First, we’ll preview the projected starters at each position taking a look at how solidified each of the five is.
Looking over their shoulder
LT Adonis Boone – 4th year Jr.
Measurables: 6’5″ 310-pounds
Boone was the primary starter in 2020 at left tackle. He was far from the biggest problem on the line, but he wasn’t the strongest link either. Boone struggles against power off of the edge. While it’s still fair to expect Boone to start in 2021, he’s not a lock with some good competition looking to take the next step behind him.
RT Renato Brown – 3rd year RS Fr.
Measurables: 6’4″ 330-pounds
Boone struggled a year ago against speed and power. Oftentimes, he rotated with transfer Cam DeGeorge in the contests that he was barely treading water in. The tackles were not great in 2020 especially comparatively speaking to 2019 when the Cardinals were fortunate enough to have future first-rounder Mekhi Becton holding down the left tackle spot. Brown is another player who is slated to start but may have to fight off some other competition.
LG Caleb Chandler – 5th year RS Jr.
Measurables: 6’4″ 310-pounds
Chandler is the best pass blocking offensive lineman on the team. He has started every game the past two seasons and should be a lock to continue to do so in 2021. Quarterback Malik Cunningham was pressured a lot in 2020, but that was almost never due to the work that Chandler was doing at left guard. He’s as solid as they come and a great fit for Scott Satterfield’s offense. Look for him to lock down his spot once again.
C Cole Bentley – 5th year Sr.
Bentley is solid in both aspects of pass and run protection. He’s a veteran who has played a ton of snaps for the Cardinals over the years. It was a bit surprising to see him come back for another season in 2021, but I’m sure that Satterfield and new offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. aren’t complaining about the development. Bentley’s spot should not be in danger this season. A move to right guard is possible. More on that later. Either way, expect him to start.
Position battle at right guard
RG Robbie Bell – 6th year RS Sr.
Measurables: 6’5″ 305-pounds
Bell struggled last season and was never a consistent starter for the team because of consistent failure to produce in 2020. He will be a part of a likely three-way battle at right guard in 2021. Bell has always been a below average starter for the team. The problem is that there has not been any better competition to push him each year.
RG Cam DeGeorge – 5th year RS Sr.
We don’t really know if DeGeorge will officially return to the team in 2021 but, for now, he’s listed on the roster so we will evaluate. In his first year with the team in 2020, DeGeorge played snaps at both right guard and right tackle to relieve any players that were struggling. His versatility is very important to the team. The problem is that he struggled himself when he substituted in as well. He will push Bell, but he’s not an ideal starter.
RG Bryan Hudson – 3rd year RS So.
Measurables: 6’4″ 310-pounds
Hudson will be immediately eligible in 2021 because of an NCAA ruling allowing a free transfer to another school. The former four-star from Kentucky started 10 games at Virginia Tech as a true freshman in 2019 at center. In 2020, he was moved over to right guard where he played in 10 games with two starts there. It would be a bit surprising if Hudson does not end up as a starter for Louisville in 2021. There is a possibility that Bentley is kicked over to guard and Hudson starts at center if Satterfield and Bicknell Jr feel more comfortable. But I would expect Hudson to win a starting battle barring a surprising change or rise by one of the two previously mentioned players.
The swing tackle
Trevor Reid – 4th year Jr.
He was the former No. 2 offensive tackle nationally out of junior college in 2020. One of three signees from Georgia Military College, Reid did not play last season. He appeared on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List ($$). Feldman is a very-plugged in source that boasts this list every preseason to show off some of college football’s best athletes. Reid was featured among them in his first year in the program. If Reid can develop in 2021, he could be a factor to potentially unseat one of Louisville’s current starters at offensive tackle.
Others to watch: IOL Josh Black, IOL Luke Kandra, IOL Austin Collins
Louisville is in very good hands on the offensive line this season. The group as a whole was hovering around below average last year. The addition of Bryan Hudson could be monumental, but the importance of the offensive tackles getting better cannot be understated. Look for the Cardinals to have an improved season in 2021 with plenty of continuity and competition to go around.
— to bigredlouie.com