LOUISVILLE, Ky. — At this point in the offseason, the nose tackle was arguably Louisville’s biggest need heading into the 2022 season. On Friday, that need was met in massive fashion.
Former Arizona State defensive tackle Jermayne Lole, who entered the portal just before the May 1 deadline, announced he would use his final year of college eligibility. play for the Cardinals.
Lole just visited campus last weekend and was scheduled to travel to Florida, Texas Tech and Oregon before committing to Louisville. He reportedly entered the portal to explore his name, image and likeness value, and has not ruled out a return to the state of Arizona, according to 247Sports‘Sun Devil Source.
The 6-foot-2, 305-pound defensive lineman was forced to miss the 2021 season due to a triceps injury suffered in fall camp, but he had already established himself as one of the best players of the Sun Devils.
Lole broke out as a true freshman and had been a starter for Arizona State ever since. In 28 career appearances, he had 123 tackles and 20.0 for loss, 11.0 sacks, eight pass deflections and two forced fumbles.
He enjoyed a lot of success after going from a finishing tackle to a three-technique tackle as a junior. In the Sun Devils’ COVID-shortened 2020 season, he recorded 24 tackles, 5.0 for loss and 1.5 sacks in just four games.
The Long Beach, Calif., native was voted as a 2021 preseason All-Pac-12 first-team selection, was named the No. 2 inside defensive lineman in college football by Pro Football Focus and named to the Outland Trophy watch list last summer before his injury.
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Needless to say, his addition to the roster completely changes the complexion of Louisville’s defensive line. Last year, the Cardinals’ top three NTs in 2021 – Malik Clark, Dezmond Tell and Jacques Turner – combined for just 24 tackles, 1.5 for loss and 2.0 sacks.
Louisville brings Tell back, and Caleb Banks has the potential for a breakout season, but Lole gives the Cardinals instant impact in the middle of the defensive line. Alongside defensive ends YaYa Diaby and Ashton Gillotte, the surface of the pitch should no longer be seen as a glaring weakness.
Louisville finished last season 6-7, 4-4 overall in ACC play, including a 31-28 First Responder Bowl loss to the Air Force. The Cardinals kick off their 2022 campaign in Syracuse on Saturday, September 3.
(Photo by Jermayne Lole: Rob Schumacher – The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK)
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