When it comes to the NFL Draft stock of Notre Dame cornerback Julian Love, his body of work on the field speaks for itself. The Jim Thorpe award finalist was, many would argue, the best cover corner in college football this past season.
You can see that in just how much the trajectory of the Cotton Bowl semifinal against Clemson changed when he left the game due to injury.
Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence was 13 of 15 for 229 yards (15.3 YPA) and 3 TDs in the second quarter without @NDFootball All-American Julian Love in the game.— Michael Bertsch (@NDsidBertschy) December 30, 2018
Lawrence was 14 of 24 for 98 yards (4.1 YPA) and no TDs when Love was in the game.
What holds Love back from being the first corner selected next month in the NFL draft isn’t anything you can see on film, it’s his measurables. He ran a 4.54-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis earlier this month, but posted a 4.45 yesterday at Notre Dame Pro Day.
It’s just .09 of a second, but it can make a world of difference for a NFL corner.
Love is now solidly considered to be the third corner coming off the boards (although Washington’s Byron Murphy will be in the mix as well) next month behind LSU’s Greedy Williams and Georgia’s DeAndre Baker.
You can watch the video of Julian Love running the 40 yard dash below:
Love consistently ran in the mid 4.4s to high 4.4s yesterday, with the mid 4.4s being the mark that he later admitted he was shooting for. Plus, he did not drop off too much (from his combine postings) in the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drills.
So what was the major difference in achieving a better 40 time?
“You’re going to sleep in your own bed,” Love said.
“I was at the combine for four days before which was great, I thought it was fun the whole time, but you don’t realize that you’re draining yourself the whole time. That’s all it is- being fresh, being loose and just proving yourself.”
He later added: “Getting back (in South Bend) got the juices flowing today.”
It will be interesting to see how he fits in at the next level.
“Some (personnel) say outside (cornerback), some say inside as a nickel, some say both,” Love said. “They know I’m productive.”
The official NFL page lists his player comparison as A.J. Bouye.
With representatives from all 32 NFL teams in attendance at ND Pro Day, we asked the Westchester, IL native what his best selling points are to a NFL team.
“I have a very clean sheet, no real injuries, no off-the-field issues, I’m dependable,” he said.
“I’ve played since I got here, played 38 games, I can learn. I come in, I work. I’m well rounded, I’d say, is the most prudent point.”
He also has the perfect mentor in Notre Dame Defensive Backs Coach Todd Lyght; who was a two time consensus All-American at Notre Dame before becoming the fifth pick overall in the 1991 NFL Draft. Lyght had three All-Pro seasons in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Rams in 1999.
“He’s been the best, since day one he’s been great,” Love said at Pro Day.
“And I really appreciate just having him here, watching me, I can feel what he’s thinking before he has to say anything. It’s a special bond we have.”
For his combine results, go to his NFL.com prospect page at this link. The official NFL page gives him an overall rating of 6.10, projecting him to be in the “instant starter in the NFL” category.
For more on Julian Love, go to this link.
Notre Dame Pro Day Stories/Prospect Profiles
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.