The departure of Charlie Strong to Texas has left Louisville's 2014 commits wondering what's next for the program. Four-star safety Nilijah Ballew addressed how the move affected his recruitment this week.
"It really hasn't affected me too much," he said. "Emotionally it has because I was really looking forward to playing for Coach [Charlie] Strong. Getting the opportunity to play for a successful African-American coach is rare, and I was really getting hyped up about that.
"I really wanted to play for Coach [Vance] Bedford. He coached Joe Haden down at Florida and I know he plays DBs for the League. But, it's just the business side of it all, I guess. I'm not too mad about it. It sucks, but I'm really optimistic about it and just waiting to see who the next head coach will be."
With much of the Midwest shut down due to heavy snowfall and low temperatures, Ballew has not had a chance to sit down with his coach at school and discuss their game plan. They have been able to chat on the phone recently, though.
"My coach called me today and said he talked to Coach [Shawn] Watson, the offensive coordinator, and they are strongly recommending I stay there," Ballew said. "I still have a place there and the AD will be calling me to re-confirm my commitment and letting me know they are upholding their end of the deal."
At this time Ballew plans to stand by his commitment and is hoping one of the current staff members succeed Strong.
"I'm still with Louisville, I'm just waiting to see where we end up and who will be the next head coach," he said. "It could be somebody from the coaching staff because with what they are doing right now, they are hot and why bring in an outsider to try to continue something that is already going on. Why not have somebody that has been on the inside and experienced it and helped with this movement. I am really hoping we get somebody who is currently on the staff."
Ballew has not had contact with any other schools since Strong's departure, but knows how he would handle it if other programs contacted him.
"I would go consult my coach and my parents," he said. "I wouldn't talk to anybody else without talking with them about the situation."
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Ballew tallied 96 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles in eight games as a senior playing a hybrid safety/linebacker position.