5 Most Intriguing Louisville Football Players Entering 2014 Season

Louisville Football's 5 Most Intriguing Players Heading into 2014

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The Louisville Cardinals lost Teddy Bridgewater, the heart and soul of their football team, to the NFL Draft. Bridgewater was a huge part of the program's recent success. The Cardinals' top priority is to find a replacement for Bridgewater. Not only did the team lose their best player, but they also lost their head coach Charlie Strong. Hopefully they can find players to step up. Here are five I think can keep the program successful.

5. Charles Gaines

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

5. Charles Gaines

charles gaines louisville cardinals
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Gaines might be one of the most athletic players on Louisville's defense during the 2014 season. He is a talented cornerback who can lock down opposing wide receivers. In 2013, Gaines had 22 tackles and five interceptions. Along with playing cornerback, Gaines is a return specialist. He had one punt return for a touchdown and a kickoff return for a touchdown. Gaines should make an instant impact for the Cardinals.

4. James Quick

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Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

4. James Quick

james quick louisville cardinals
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

James Quick came to the Louisville Cardinals as one of the most sought after wide receivers in the country. He finished his freshman campaign with only six receptions for 73 yards and zero touchdowns. Hopefully for Quick, he can put up some good numbers during his sophomore season. He will likely be one of Will Gardner's main targets in 2014. I expect his stats to increase exponentially this season.

3. Michael Dyer

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Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

3. Michael Dyer

michael dyer louisville cardinals
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't long ago that Michael Dyer was the offensive MVP of the Auburn Tigers' 2010 BCS national championship. His two years with the Tigers were remarkable, but since making his way to Louisville, Dyer has had trouble making it onto the field. Dyer came to Louisville with a lot of baggage and lofty expectations. He has not lived up to the expectations, but hopefully this season he can get it together.

2. Sheldon Rankins

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

2. Sheldon Rankins

sheldon rankins louisville cardinals
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Sheldon Rankins has been a solid contributor for the Cardinals. He has great leverage and sheds blocks well. Entering into his junior season, Rankins will look to become a leader on the defense. During his sophomore campaign, he finished 15 tackles and three sacks. Look for Rankins to anchor the defensive line that returns several starters from last year's team.

1. Will Gardner

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Kim Klemente-USA TODAY Sports

1. Will Gardner

will gardner louisville cardinals
Kim Klemente-USA TODAY Sports

Will Gardner will definitely have some huge shoes to fill in 2014. The Cardinals' new starting quarterback will have to replace Teddy Bridgewater, something that might seem impossible to most. Yes, Gardner likely won't have the same hype Bridgewater did, but he will be a solid player. Gardner has a strong arm and is very heady when it comes to knowing the position. It will be interesting to see how he does in the spotlight.

Matt Maddux is a SEC Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dawgomatic229, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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