By Steve Jones
The Louisville Courier-Journal
Trevon Young was on the road from his home in Iowa to Louisville on Saturday afternoon, knowing there was a reasonable chance he could be turning right back around in the next couple days.
The All-America defensive end from Iowa Western College was traveling with his family to begin his major-college football career at the University of Louisville, but with swirling reports that UofL’s Charlie Strong will be hired as Texas’ coach, it’s a time of uncertainty.
“If he ends up leaving, I don’t even know what I would do,” Young said by phone from the car about an hour from Louisville. “I’d be frustrated. I’d have to talk to my family about the options I could take. … It’s kind of messed up the way the timing worked out. I’m planning on staying, so hopefully he stays and it works out.”
He was one of multiple U of L commitments reached by The Courier-Journal on Saturday afternoon who are anxiously waiting definitive word about Strong.
Young, a former Des Moines Lincoln star who signed a binding national letter of intent with U of L last month, and at least two high school players who planned to enroll at midyear were scheduled to arrive in Louisville by today to get housing and begin team functions.
Young said his mother spoke with U of L athletic director Tom Jurich early Saturday before Jurich had met with Strong and was told he the coach was undecided on whether he would take the Texas job. Young said Jurich indicated that he expected a resolution by Sunday.
If Strong is hired by the Longhorns, Young said there’s “definitely a possibility” he might head straight back home to Des Moines after consulting with his family, who traveled with him to Louisville.
Here’s a look at the thoughts of some other of U of L’s 24 commitments.
Trinity High School quarterback Reggie Bonnafon, who was U of L’s first verbal commitment in the 2014 class a year ago this week, said he spoke with defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson on Saturday and was told that Strong remains undecided.
“I would probably stay committed, but I would probably try to branch out and see some other schools,” he said. “But I would try to stay committed to the new coach.”
Cincinnati safety Nilijah Ballew, who attends Walnut Hills High and is U of L’s only four-star commitment, according to Rivals.com, said the past couple days have been a stressful time.
Ballew had been unable to reach his primary recruiter, offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, to get an update on Strong, and he didn’t know much besides the reports he’d seen on ESPN that Strong is expected to leave U of L.
His family and coach had told him “just to hang tight and see how thing ride out.”
Ballew, who plans to officially visit U of L on Jan. 17, said if Strong leaves, he’d remain committed and see which coach is hired.
“I fell in love with the University of Louisville, and they have many great points,” he said. “They’re in a great conference. I’m definitely not going to just get rid of them. I’m definitely going to wait around. They’d still be my No. 1. … If he stays that’d be perfect. I’m sure that’s what everybody wants.”
Three-star wide receiver George Rushing of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who has been one of U of L’s most ardent commitments since his decision in May, summed up his Saturday: “I’m stressed out, man.”
Rushing said he is unsure what he’ll do if Strong leaves Louisville and that he’s been praying and consulting with his family.
“I really hope he sticks to his word because I talked to him a couple days ago, and he said he wasn’t leaving. I know it’s a business, but I’ve got a lot of things I’ve got to do if he leaves.”
“… I just wish he would come out with an official statement, which would just be easier for a lot of people.”
Three-star offensive lineman Kavaris Harkless of Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Fla., left Saturday for Louisville for his first day with the team. His coach, Verlon Dorminey, had not spoken to Harkless, who has been committed since April, since Friday morning, so he was unsure if Harkless is determined to stick with Cards even if Strong goes. Florida recruited Harkless hard this season.
Dorminey said another longtime U of L commitment from his state champion team, wide receiver Isaiah Ford, sent him a text message after midnight on Friday that said, “Just when you thought it was going to be easy …”
Ford, who will be a traditional spring graduate, has taken official visits to U of L and Virginia Tech, and Dorminey said the Hokies will almost certainly be Ford’s choice if he doesn’t stick with U of L.
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer is expected to visit him next week.
Ford is also a standout basketball player who has planned to walk on at U of L and has the same basketball invitation at Tech.
“It’s just the nature of the beast now,” Dorminey said of the predicament his players are in. “We tell the kids all the time, ‘You better pick the school because you like the school, not because you like the coach, because most likely the coach you start with is not going to be the coach you finish with.’”
Steve Jones can be reached at (502) 582-7176 and followed on Twitter at @SteveJones_CJ.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football