--By Jared Anderson
--File photo by Seth Spalding
Not all key Louisville Cardinals are gone.
Yes, Lamar Jackson and Jaire Alexander are gone. The Cards will be without two of the top stars from last season. Despite this, Louisville has plenty of talent left on the team. Here’s a few players to look out for:
Jaylen Smith: A senior, Smith has high expectations from fans and media alike after a successful junior year. He recently underwent emergency appendectomy surgery and is expected to miss up to two weeks of the regular season. Upon his return Smith could set a pace equal or greater to his numbers last season. A 10-touchdown season is possible but would be a high mark for a receiver whose top number is seven.
Desmond “Dez” Fitzpatrick: As a redshirt freshman in 2017 Fitzpatrick had a breakout season. He led the team with nine touchdowns last year, making his reception-touchdown ratio an incredible 5-1. Teams now know his name but stopping him is another story.
Jonathan “Jon” Greenard: Greenard was eighth on the team in tackles last year. Five above him graduated, moving the redshirt-junior into third on the list. The linebacker tied for first on the team with seven sacks last year and will hope to make an even bigger impact on defense as a defensive captain and having a new defensive coordinator.
Dee Smith: With several members of the 2017 secondary gone, Smith becomes a veteran entering his final year. Smith was high on the tackles list and came off the bench a couple of times. Nine of the 13 interceptions came from seniors last year so 2018 is the year Smith makes his mark as a threat to opposing quarterbacks.
Blanton Creque: A rising redshirt-junior, Creque has established himself as the go-to kicker for the Cards. As a placekicker, the Kentucky native made 17-of-20 field goals with a long of 48 yards. 22 of his 84 kickoffs resulted in a touchback and he averaged 60.5 yards per kickoff, well above par in the nation.
Dae Williams: Williams broke out late last year as conference opponents began finding a game plan to slow down Lamar Jackson. Williams averaged 6.2 yards per carry and scored three times on 38 touches as a freshman. With Jackson gone, running backs should see a substantial increase in touches.
Trey Smith: Smith was another running back overshadowed by Lamar Jackson and Malik Williams. The rising redshirt-junior saw action in 11 games last year but managed just 21 touches. He made the most of those touches, averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
There are plenty of other returners that should play a vital role in this season such as Jawon “Puma” Pass, who is expected to be the new starting quarterback, and Seth Dawkins, who will be a starting receiver if he is fully recovered from injury. Defensively, C.J. Avery and Henry Famurewa can also make an impact this year too.