Plenty of prospects, some of them high-profile, others under-the-radar, have come and gone in the past decade or so, since the inception of the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl. Still, the talent level across the board on the national level has been about as good as it gets.
Things don’t figure to change anytime soon, either, as the hype continues to build for this year’s games: Dec. 18 and Jan. 22 at Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, Jan. 6 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium and Jan. 13 at Jacksonville Jaguars’ EverBank Field.
To gain a better of understanding about the rapidly growing direction of things, perhaps it’s best to take some time to reflect on the humble beginnings. Therefore, moving forward, the plan is to more closely examine the brand’s many alumni from all over the country.
Julian Love from Nazareth Academy (IL) is the focus this time around. Righfully so, the recognition is long overdue truth be told, considering he nearly won the Defensive MVP award for the Class of 2016 as the Grey defeated the Blue, 28-14, at EverBank Field.
Despite not taking the home the hardware, at the time an honor given to current college teammate Troy Pride from Greer (SC), Love is still making plays. Only nowadays, it’s on Saturdays for Notre Dame as a 5-foot-11 and 193-pound sophomore defensive back.
Love, Pride & Co. will be in action against Miami on Nov. 11 in a nonconference game at 8 p.m. (EST), a showdown with BCS National Championship Game implications as the Fighting Irish are ranked No. 3 in the country and the Hurricanes are ranked No. 7.
Similar to the past, Love figures to be heavily involved in the game plan this weekend. Also, moving forward. As a freshman, he played in all 12 games and started the final eight. His 45 tackles, 32 solo stops, were tops on the team for first-year players.
As a sophomore, Love has 37 tackles, 22 unassisted, 17 pass defelctions and three interceptions for 153 return yards. Moreover, two picks went for touchdowns, a 59-yarder against Michigan State on Sept. 23 and a 69-yarder against North Carolina State on Oct. 28.
In his final game on the prep circuit during the All-American Bowl in Florida, the consensus among the NFL veteran coaching staff was that Love was capable of being an immediate contributor in South Bend (IN). Sure enough, he’s done just that. And more.