It's been a while since we took an absurdly detailed look at one of Georgia's incoming freshman football players, as part of our ongoing series that gives you too much information about the class of 2009. I think we can rectify that right now.
As you are probably already aware, Coach Richt and crew picked up commitment #12 for the class of 2009 last week when Glen Allen, Virginia cornerback Jordan Love gave his verbal pledge.
Love is listed at 6'0, 185 lb., and also plays talback and returns kicks, as you can see in the highlight video on his Rivals page. His impending commitment seemed like the worst-kept secret in the world until last week, when rumors surfaced that he would hold off for a while and was thinking about Penn State (possibly out of a desire to stay closer to home). In the end however, it was not to be, and JoePa was forced to move onto other brains players.
Love himself acknowledged that eastern Virginia is not exactly a pipeline to Athens, but wasn't bothered by that so much as flattered, telling Digitalsports.com that Georgia "had a lot of interest in me also as an out-of-state guy, because Georgia doesn't really have to leave their recruiting zone," Love said. "So when they made me an offer, it kind of indicated to me that I must be a pretty good player. For them to recruit a player that far North, you know that I really liked that."
While he's not the most highly rated corner in the country (#33 according to Rivals, #25 according to Scout), Love fits the mold of the type of corner we're seeing more and more of in college football. Teams are looking for bigger, physical corners who can play man coverage against the bigger wide receivers that are now so popular, and who can play in the 4-2-5 defense being used to stop the spread offense. Love fits the bill. He's big, he's physical and from what I've seen on film, he's not afraid of contact.
Love also passes the "offer list test", having chosen the 'Dawgs over not only Penn State, but also Florida, Tennessee and West Virginia. Say what you will about Phil Fulmer and Urban Meyer (and Bleacher Report already has, by the way), but they generally recognize football talent when they see it. Plus, every time we deprive Tennessee of one of the guys from North Carolina or Virginia that they once seemed to get almost automatically, I chuckle just a little bit.
My prediction is that you'll see Love rise in the recruiting rankings over the next few months. He has all the physical tools to be a Paul Oliver-type corner, with excellent speed, good hip action and the frame to handle college receivers on the line of scrimmage.
If anything needs work, it may be his coverage skills, but that's true of almost all high school corners. The truth is that the speed of the college game and the sophistication of many college passing attacks (combined with the neon sign overhead proclaiming "Freshman Corner! Please Attempt to Burn Me Vertically!")make many young corners look like they have no idea what they're doing. Look for Love to compete for gametime in the nickel package his freshman year against the likes of Makiri Pugh and Brandon Boykin, assuming those guys haven't worked their way into the starting corner spots by then. If he can do the right things consistently, he should play quickly.
With Ramarcus Brown graduating and Asher Allen, Bryan Evans and Prince Miller playing their junior seasons, we need corners in this class. I'm fairly certain that our top target at the position is Branden Smith out of Washington High in Atlanta, but for now the staff did a great job of locking down a guy who can play the position the way they want it played. Welcome to Bulldog Nation, Jordan!