In just six games, DeVante Parker managed to lead the Louisville Cardinals in receiving yards, yards per catch and receiving touchdowns. In 13 games, no other Cardinals receiver even came close to that kind of production.
In his limited presence, Parker has looked like Calvin Johnson — hauling in seven or more balls per game and eclipsing the 100-yard mark in receiving all but once. Unfortunately, Louisville doesn’t have an analogous equivalent to Golden Tate, and this, along with their overrated rush defense, will be the 2015 Cardinals’ greatest cause for concern.
Nevermind that Louisville surrendered half an acre to Nick Chubb of the Georgia Bulldogs during the Belk Bowl — the talent disparity at wideout for the Cardinals is alarming. How does one receiver become a stats leader in three critical categories when he’s played in less than half of the games? A rush defense can be coached up, but a receiving corps requires prime talent.
Parker has been “the guy” at Louisville for the last two seasons, but after he’s taken in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Cardinals will need to move on and keep pace with the acceleration of the ACC. The Clemson Tigers appear to be building a national threat, the Duke Blue Devils have retained their godsend of a coach and the Florida State Seminoles are a constant atop the ACC.
For Louisville to tread water in 2015, Bobby Petrino needs to sell recruits on the idea that he’ll stay this time around. If he can instill stability, then maybe Louisville’s receiving corps can find their footing as well.