Kareem Orr has really big plans for his senior football season at Notre Dame High School. So big, in fact, that he doesn't want any off-the-field distractions getting in the way of his goals -- not even his own recruitment.
So on Tuesday evening, Orr decided to end all the speculation about his college plans by committing to the University of Louisville.
"I've had it in mind to go ahead and commit to get it over with before my senior season gets started, so I just decided this was the right time," said Orr, who visited the campus last weekend. "I want to be able to concentrate on making my senior year really special for me and my teammates.
"I really felt comfortable with their coaches and the way they've recruited me from early on, so the 'Ville is the place for me."
The 6-foot, 190-pound Orr has been a two-way star at Notre Dame the last two seasons, earning all-state honors last year, and could play either defensive back or receiver in college.
"They said I would get on the field somewhere early, but they're not sure if it'll be on offense or defense," he said. "It really doesn't matter which side of the ball I play. I'm just excited to be a part of their program.
"It's close enough to home that my mom is only a few hours away, but I'm also far enough that I can get away on my own."
Orr chose the Cardinals over 14 other scholarship offers, including Cincinnati, Duke, East Carolina, Middle Tennessee State and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He said he may still take one more visit, to Cincinnati, because he already had it planned and just wants to make certain of his decision before turning his full attention to this fall, but added that he can't imagine anything changing his mind on his commitment.
Last season he accumulated 1,724 all-purpose yards with 15 touchdowns and also intercepted five passes, returning two for scores. As a sophomore, he had 1,105 all-purpose yards with 18 TDs, scoring on a kick return, a punt return and an interception return as well as rushing and receiving TDs.
"I think Louisville is a real good fit, regardless of which side of the ball he winds up playing," Notre Dame coach Charles Fant said. "He could play safety or cornerback, but I know their coaches told me after watching his film that they believe he has some of the best ball skills as any receiver in the nation.
"They're just real excited to get an athlete of his caliber and with his upside. I think the thing that stood out about them is that they didn't just talk to him about football, they talked to him about the academic side and really got to know Kareem as a person and not just a player."
Orr becomes the area's fourth player to commit ahead of February's signing day, joining Baylor quarterback Nick Tiano and Signal Mountain offensive lineman Harrison Moon, who both committed to Mississippi State, and Ringgold defensive lineman Zach Morris, who's headed to Duke.
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...