How Jeff Brohm is managing a transfer-heavy Louisville football team ahead of 2023 season

In Jeff Brohm’s final three years as Purdue’s head coach, he signed 31 players from the transfer portal.
In year one at Louisville, he's pulled in 24 scholarship players from the portal. The class is ranked No. 1 by On3 and deemed the 12th-best by 247Sports. Brohm signed 12 scholarship players in the winter and another 12 after the Cardinals’ spring game on April 21.
The first-year transfers account for one-third of the team, which brings an added wrinkle for Brohm and his coaching staff. Not only are players learning a new coaching staff and teammates but also a new campus and city as well.
There’s a big emphasis on putting the pieces together sooner rather than later with Louisville’s season opener also being its conference opener. The Cardinals begin fall camp Tuesday and start the year on the road against Georgia Tech on Sept. 1.
“There's a lot of time that these guys invest in football, and we're allowed to do some of it in meetings and in spring practice, on the field occasionally in the summer," Brohm said. "(We have) the month of May, June, July, fall camp to get these guys up to speed. A lot of these transfers nowadays, they have experience. They've played football, which means as much as anything. They're able to adapt to some possible new terminology for a lot of the same plays they ran before.”
Cardinals offensive lineman Bryan Hudson admitted it’s been a little difficult to remember the names of the new players. In addition to the transfers, Louisville signed 16 true freshmen. That's 40 new faces, which is almost half the team. But Hudson praised the coaching staff for its efforts to get new players acclimated and develop chemistry among personnel. He is taking an active role in the process as a leader on the team.
“Just this past weekend, I had the guys over to my place, and we all just kind of hung out,” Hudson said during 2023 ACC Kickoff Media Days. “That, along with just doing all that extra work and being in the film room together, staying after practice, staying after workouts, most of the guys − pretty much all of them − are doing that on a daily basis. We've set that standard and that's helped us be able to learn everybody and get pretty close to each other.”
Brohm believes his new team’s influx of players from the transfer portal is “really probably what college football is turned into, for the most part."
“I think every year, you're probably going to see more and more on the transfer portal take place,” he said. “It's a situation where, if guys want to leave because they're not playing as much as they want or something's not going their (way), they're gonna have the opportunity to do that. So, because of that, you have to be prepared to find replacements and find people as well that can help your team.”
Across the nation, 1,002 Division I undergraduate players and 486 graduate players entered the portal in 2021, according to data from the NCAA. In 2022, there were 1,293 Division I undergrads and 540 grad transfers in the portal. Of those, 88% successfully transferred to another Division I program.
Brohm notes that dating back to his time at Western Kentucky, he’s always been open to bringing in new players to help bolster his teams while still placing an importance on high school recruits. In his final season with Purdue, he had nine transfers join the program. Though the group wasn't highly regarded nationally – it ranked 60th according to 247Sports – the new Boilermakers were impactful in helping the team reach the Big Ten Championship game for the first time in program history, recording an 8-6 season.
Newcomers played in at least 13 games with three recording five or more starts. That included leading receiver Charlie Jones, a sixth-year player and full-time starter who transferred from Iowa. Before being selected by the Cincinnati Bengals as the No. 131 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Jones became one of three Boilermakers to record 100 catches in a single season, finishing with 110. He also set a 20-year school record for most receiving yards in a single season (1,361) while leading the team in touchdown receptions (12) in 13 games played.
Central Michigan transfer Kobe Lewis (43 carries, 146 yards in 13 games) and Tyrone Tracy (17-138 in 14 games), another former Hawkeye, were the Boilermakers’ third- and fourth-leading rushers with Tracy also averaging 8.1 yards per carry and totaling 28 catches for 198 yards.
A year later at Louisville, Brohm has a larger transfer class that’s notably talented from top to bottom and deemed one of the best in the country. The Cardinals hope those expectations will manifest on the field after working throughout the offseason to bring the team together in Brohm’s first season at the helm of the program.
“You have days that, if you are invested and you're around your guys and you get them around your team, you can get that done,” Brohm said about getting the newer players adjusted. “You've got to spend the time to do that and not take the offseason for granted that it's just a time to be (off). No. You've got to put the work in to make sure that that thing is gelled together from Game One.”

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