|Charlie Strong's recruiting ties in Florida make Louisville's move to the ACC a slam dunk. (US Presswire)|
It was announced early Wednesday that Louisville would become the newest member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, replacing Maryland in 2014. Up until this point the Cardinals had seemingly been the odd team out, getting passed over time after time as the Big East fell apart.
But now it's all over, and from the perspective of both football and basketball, there isn't a better situation for Louisville. And, more immediately, the move will provide Charlie Strong's program the one thing it had been missing since he took over as head coach in 2010: stability.
From a basketball standpoint, nothing will really change in terms of recruiting. Rick Pitino will still be able to pluck talent from all corners of the map, just as he did with Louisville as member of the Big East. Football, however, could see a major spike -- especially with Strong's current recruiting strongholds in the south. Strong, the former defensive coordinator at Florida, has recruited the state extremely well in his short time at Louisville, pulling in such stars as Teddy Bridgewater, Michaelee Harris, Eli Rogers and Charles Gaines -- to name a few -- from the Sunshine State.
Of course, Strong has also whiffed on some major recruits. Louisville simply didn't have the name recognition. Imagine trying to lure a top prospect -- Louisville prep star receiver James Quick, for instance -- with the promise of playing in front of 30,000 people against Temple. Quick's other options, Oregon and Ohio State, have a major advantage there.
Even further, it had to be difficult selling a program with so much uncertainty surrounding it. As all the big names bolted from the Big East, who was left? And, despite athletic director Tom Jurich's promise to make Strong the game's highest-paid coach, how long would Strong stick around with so many suitors lining up for his services?
But now that isn't too much a concern. Sure Strong could seek out other offers in the future, but for now, why not see how high this program can go in a major conference?
So Strong has his recruiting base, Strong has the facilities, and now Strong has the conference affiliations and future marquee matchups. It's easy to see that, if he could bring in top talent in the Big East, the sky is the limit in the ACC.
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