Julian Love arrives on campus after a prolific high school career and in possession of a very diverse skill-set. An RKG if there ever was one, Love’s character and pedigree went a long way towards the Irish jumping on the Chicagoland product and making him an early target, before any of the Midwest’s elite programs came calling.
Projected to play defensive back, Love’s athleticism is what got the coaching staff excited—a true football player who did just about everything for a two-time state champion.
5’11”, 175 lbs.
Consensus 3-star prospect, Back-to-back 5A State Champions in Illinois, first-team MaxPreps All-American, All-Illinois first team per Chicago Tribune and Champaign News. Had early offers from Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois and Boston College before picking Notre Dame at an early Junior Day.
There’s nothing that profiles “elite” about Love, but he reminds me of the same type of football player that the Irish recruited out of Cretin-Derham Hall in James Onwualu. There’s no chance that Love grows into a linebacker, but he’s a born leader who’ll start his career at one position and then the staff will see what makes the most sense after getting their hands on him.
Will it be easy for Love to beat out some of the talented athletes that the Irish staff has recruited at the skill positions? No. But he’ll likely find a niche early, and it feels like it’s been forever—maybe Robert Blanton— since the Irish have had an overachiever roaming the secondary. Maybe Love is the guy that breaks through.
The limited ceiling that comes with modest offers and a three-star ranking likely serves as fuel for a player like Love. That’s a big reason why I don’t think he’ll redshirt. Like Onwualu, who found a way into the starting lineup at receiver, Love will carve out some role on this team.
The logical one is special teams. Even if he’s a kick-cover guy now instead of a returner, Brian Kelly’s small-school DNA makes him love all-around football players, and while Love certainly isn’t the freakiest athlete of the recruiting cycle, but he might be one of the best football players.
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