LOUISVILLE, KY. (WAVE) What looked like a bright future for next season for UofL football, just got a little brighter. Eight starters from a defense that ranked 18th in the country last year are returning, led by four juniors who turned down the NFL to stay on campus. Pair an experienced defense with an offense that returns majority of its starters, including dynamic quarterback Lamar Jackson, and you have the makings for a contender for the ACC Championship.
On Thursday, the four Cards who turned down the NFL met with the media to discuss their decision. DeAngelo Brown, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Devonte Fields, and Keith Kelsey were all thought to be potential draftees, but each felt like they had more work to do to improve their stock, and wanted another chance to play together. "God told me to sit down, and be patient. Then, not only that, we have a great opportunity with all of the guys coming back next year, and then the younger guys are stepping up as well, so, I think we have a chance to be a good team," said Kelsey. "I really didn't have the season that I wanted to have, I feel like I can do a lot better and I talked with these guys, and once they told me they were coming back, it was a no brainer for me," said Harvey-Clemons. For Brown, he relied on a higher power to make his decision. "Talked to God about it and I just felt in my heart it was best for me to come back for my senior year," commented Brown. For Fields, both football and his education were reasons to return. "Talked to these guys, called them over the break to see where their mind was at, another reason for me is to be able to get my degree in December," said Fields.
In order to win the ACC, U of L is going to have to do something they haven't done since joining the conference. Knock off division foes Florida State and Clemson. Both of whom have won the conference and cracked the college football playoff. The Cards have had close losses to both teams, and feel like they're knocking on the door in the ACC. "It just really means we need to come in the off season and outwork all our opponents on our schedule really. We were that close. Hands down, Clemson was the better team that game. We just got a lot of work to do. As you can see we're not that far off," said Kelsey.