Julian Love didn’t need to think it over. As soon as the Nazareth Academy (La Grange Park, Ill.) senior got his scholarship offer in March, he committed to Coach Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish on the spot.
Love, standing 5-foot-11-inches and weighing 180 pounds, is a three-star cornerback according to Scout and 247Sports. He is a two-time state champion; a highlight of this season’s run was a 55-yard strip-and-score of St. Viator’s TE Cole Kmet, who is committed to the Irish’s Class of 2017.
Love is praised for his exceptional instincts, good footwork and ability to transition from backpedal to closing/tackle. The knock on him is that he’s built like a cornerback, but runs more like a safety (4.6 to 4.7 40 time is apparently not great for a corner). This past year, he recorded 50 tackles – two for a loss – 1 INT and one defensive touchdown and was named to the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl.
Love also played running back, receiver and on special teams for the Roadrunners, so he might be a good fit on the kickoff team.
Tim Racki, his high school coach, told Scout’s Beth Long:
“It’s like he turns into a superhero when he puts on the uniform. He’s like Clark Kent or Superman. And he does, he just looks in and when he plays football he knows how to lock in and just transform himself. … It’s almost like he’s already seen the play happen before it happened. He knows where the runner is going to go, he knows what the tackles are going to do and he just does the opposite and just makes the play.”
Love is a lifelong fan of Our Lady’s football team and is (or at least was, as of December) dating a St. Mary’s student. He held offers from Boston College, Iowa, Indiana and Northwestern, among others.
At cornerback, Cole Luke and Devin Butler have one year of eligibility left. Nick Watkins will have two and Nick Coleman will have three. Shaun Crawford, lost before the season to injury, and Ashton White were redshirted and will enter their sophomore seasons with four seasons of eligibility intact. KeiVarae Russell declared for the NFL Draft.