Louisville recruiting commitment Russ Yeast has been elevated into the final Class of 2017 national top 250 prospect rankings by Rivals.com, giving the Cardinals school records with three Rivals250 pledges and five total Rivals four-star commits with a couple weeks to go before national signing day.
Yeast, a multipositional athlete from Indiana’s Center Grove High School who is expected to play cornerback in college, earned his fourth star from Rivals and was ranked as the No. 231 senior nationally. He’s ranked the No. 39 “athlete” nationally and No. 5 overall prospect in Indiana. Yeast’s rise in the Rivals rankings follows what was seen as a strong week of practices last month leading up to the Under Armour All-American game.
“Yeast took the momentum he generated in his final high school season when he just missed out on Mr. Football honors and carried it into the Under Armour All-American Game,” Rivals.com Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt wrote. “A two-way threat, Yeast stood out in that event while playing wide receiver, even though he may end up as a defensive back when he gets to Louisville next season.”
Two other U of L pledges remained ranked in the final Rivals250 – No. 154 Colin Wilson, a running back from Green Cove Springs, Fla., and No. 219 Malik Cunningham, a quarterback from Montgomery, Ala.
Louisville has never had more than two Rivals250 signees in the same class. Rivals, which began rating players in 2002. In 2006, the site expanded its elite national rankings from a top 100 to a top 250.
Two other U of L commitments – Georgia wide receiver Justin Marshall and Corey Reed – are rated four stars by Rivals but aren’t included in the top 250.
If Wilson, Cunningham, Yeast, Marshall and Reed all sign with U of L on Feb. 1, the five Rivals four-star pledges would be the most for U of L ever.
The Cards are still in the mix with other Rivals250 prospects, including No. 57 Jeff Thomas, an uncommitted receiver from East St. Louis, Ill.; No. 96 Ja’len Parks, a defensive tackle from Florida who’s committed to Florida State; and No. 221 Brian Edwards, an uncommitted defensive back from Hollywood, Fla. Among them, U of L probably stands the best shot with Edwards. He, Parks and Wilson visited Louisville last weekend.
Thomas was supposed to visit but didn’t make it due to bad weather back home. Cunningham will visit Louisville this weekend and visit Florida the weekend of Jan. 27. Yeast officially visited Louisville in October, right before he committed. He took an unofficial visit this past weekend.
Yeast recently received a scholarship offer from Oklahoma and hosted the new Purdue staff for an in-home visit, but he’s seen as a solid pledge to Louisville.
The Cards’ 22-man class (five four-stars, 14 three-stars, three two-stars) is ranked No. 20 nationally by Rivals, which, if it holds, would be the best ever for the program, according to that website.
LOUISVILLE’S RIVALS250 PLEDGES
2017 (three): No. 154 Colin Wilson, No. 219 Malik Cunningham, No. 231 Russ Yeast
2016 (one): No. 208 Desmond Fitzpatrick
2013 (two): No. 76 James Quick, No. 197 James Hearns
2012 (two): No. 89 Nick Dawson, No. 133 Keith Brown
2011 (two): No. 96 Gerod Holliman, No. 113 Teddy Bridgewater
2010 (two): No. 121 Michaelee Harris, No. 193 Dominique Brown
2007 (one): No. 248 C.J. Peak
2006 (two): No. 52 Deantwan “Peanut” Whitehead, No. 175 Aundre Henderson
2004 (one): No. 76 Brian Brohm
2003 (one): No. 28 Michael Bush
Notes: Rivals had only a Rivals100 from 2002 to 2005 and expanded to a Rivals250 in 2006; this list includes only players who signed with U of L out of high school
LOUISVILLE FOUR-STAR RIVALS PLEDGES
2017 (five): Wilson, Cunningham, Yeast, Corey Reed, Justin Marshall
2016 (three): Fitzpatrick, Jawon Pass, Chris Taylor-Yamanoha
2015 (three): Lamar Jackson, Devante Peete, Devonte Fields
2013 (two): Quick, Hearns
2012 (three): Dawson, Brown, Holliman (re-signed out of prep school)
2011 (four): Holliman, Bridgewater, Eli Rogers, Andrew Johnson
2010 (three): Harris, Brown, De’Antre Rhodes
2009 (one): Joe Evinger
2008 (one): Josh Wiley
2007 (three): Woodny Turenne (five-stars), Peak, Dale Martin
2006 (four): Whitehead, Henderson, Brandon Heath, Kareem Crowell
2005 (four): Earl Heyman, Marcel Benson, Nate Harris, Zach Anderson
2004 (one): Brohm
2003 (two): Bush, B.J. Vickers
2002 (two): James Taylor, Abraham Brown