Last weekend was a rough one for Louisville fans. After a valiant comeback effort against Pitt fell short, ending in a 45-34 defeat on Saturday, stud 4 star receiver Dez Fitzpatrick tweeted this Sunday Night:
I spoke with Dez’s father, Greg Fitzpatrick, shortly after I saw his son's announcement. First and foremost, it must be said that this was a very tough decision for Dez and he is still a little upset. The transition to manhood is painful and tough decisions are what forge a man's character. While I understand this particular decision was an emotional one for the young 4-Star receiver to make, I get the vibe that it was strictly a business decision.
There were concerns in the Fitzpatrick camp about the state of the Louisville offense. Bobby Petrino has always had a reputation as a coach that runs a pass heavy/pro-style offense. This season however, the Cards have gone to a read option, running attack under Lamar Jackson and have landed a verbal commitment from another 4-Star read option QB, Jawon Pass. Some have said that the paradigm shift was one of necessity and Jackson was forced into early duty as an adaptation to the Cards' QB having to play behind a line that has surrender 43 sacks, more than any team in the country.
I don't buy that.
It seems lazy to simply attribute Louisville's poor pass protection to the apparent change in Petrino's offensive philosophy. If you look deeper you will see that he has signed two dual threat, 4-star quarterback recruits in his first two seasons back at the helm. Both are seen as great athletes with some work to do as passers. First there was Lamar Jackson, who has been the starter for the lion’s share of the season, then for the 2016 class, there is Jawon Pass, another read option quarterback, viewed by many as a huge talent with great wheels, but a project when it comes to his passing acumen.
Do the math. Louisville has arguably the worst offensive line in the country, with no real upgrades to the position on the horizon, and both of Petrino’s major QB recruits are considered “run-first” read option guys. Saying that Petrino appears to be moving away from a pro-style, pass heavy attack, to a read-option is justifiable, whether by design or out of necessity.
Nebraska, on the other hand, runs a West Coast passing attack under offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf. This is the pro-style attack in which Dez desires to operate. It makes sense that a wide out with Fitpatrick's quickness of the line, and route running prowess would be attracted to that style of offense. With that being said, Nebraska may theoretically be a west coast passing team, but they are not exactly the 1989 San Fransisco 49ers in actual practice. Still, a discerning recruitnik has to believe that after a solid visit and the current vibe coming from his decommitment, the Cornhuskers currently hold the edge for his services.
There is still a ways to go, and the battle has just begun. It has always been known that Desmond would take all of his visits after the season ended. His focus during the 2015 season was always on helping his Waterford Mott team win a state title. Once that dream ended, Dez's recruitment picked back up.
Despite his son's decommitment from Louisville, I was told there is no rush to commit anywhere else right now, and Dez won't make a final decision until early February. Greg also informed me that Louisville is still in the running and Dez will take an official visit to Louisville on January 29th. National signing day is on the 4th, so that will probably be the day.
The family knows that this is a special time for their son. Dez is in the running for a few major awards and has already won the MLive Detroit Overall Player of the Year as well as a spot on the MLive Detroit's 2015 Football Detroit Dream Team. He has also been niminated for Michigan Gatorade Palyer of the Year, and is a finalist for State Champ's "Mr. Football."
Since his decommitment, Dez has been contacted by a few Pac-12 schools and received a scholarship offer from Washington State yesterday. I am told that Arizona and UCLA have also expressed interest. Things are getting interesting for the ultra-talented 4 Star receiver from Waterford Mott, stay tuned.