Micale Cunningham is one of the main bright spots for Louisville football heading into the 2020 season and he could be a Heisman contender.
Scott Satterfield took over before the 2019 season with minimal expectations following the Bobby Petrino era.
Louisville had just gone 2-10 and Satterfield left Appalachian State and faced a major rebuild. He’d have to start with finding the quarterback to lead the program in the coming years. He started with Jawon Pass, a junior who looked to be taking over as the next Lamar Jackson-like player. He could run and pass, but he didn’t live up to the hype.
Pass finished with 330 yards and four touchdowns while completing just over 50 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 5.2 yards per touch.
It’s safe to say he wasn’t the answer.
And then Micale Cunningham took over. He passed for 2,061 yards and 22 touchdowns with only five picks and helped lead the Cardinals to an eight-win season which ended with a Music City Bowl win over Mississippi State. He also finished third on the team with 482 rushing yards and six scores.
It was clear from the moment he took over that Cunningham was the quarterback of the future for Louisville.
Louisville football’s next true Heisman contender
A few years have passed since Lamar hoisted the Heisman Trophy and not being able to find someone to adequately replace the all-world talent ultimately cost Petrino his job.
Fast forward to 2020 and the Cardinals have yet another true Heisman contender in Cunningham and he’s the name that no one seems to be talking about in the race. He’s not a household name just yet, but that’s going to change soon.
Cunningham has shown in his first two seasons that he’s an accurate passer (career 62 percent completion rate), he can run and he’s a winner. With a second straight season in the same offensive system for the first time in his young career, he’s almost guaranteed to flourish in 2020.
We talk about guys like Sam Howell, Trevor Lawrence and D’Eriq King as Heisman contenders from the SEC, but don’t be shocked when an all-around gifted player like Cunningham rises up and makes a push in the final voting.