It’s a question that has been asked many times since Notre Dame got blown out by Clemson 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl semifinal last season- what if Julian Love had been able to play the entire game? What if the best cover corner in college football last year didn’t have to miss a significant portion of the game in order to enter concussion protocol?
The game was still close when Love exited, and the stats show that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence didn’t start completing deep passes for massive gains until the Westchester, Illinois native left the field.
Of course, the complexion of the game was only changed on one side of the ball though. Julian Love doesn’t play offense, and the Clemson defense continued to dominate the Notre Dame offensive unit, all day regardless. In the end, the overall result would have almost certainly been the same, although the final box score would have been more digestible to Notre Dame fans.
Last year’s college football playoff semifinal loss, in which there were numerous future NFL players on both sides of the ball, shows you what a difference the Fighting Irish All-American can make.
The 5’11” 193 pound Nazareth Academy product was picked 108th overall by the New York Giants in the fourth round of the NFL draft.
On the most recent Giants depth chart, you’ll see his name slotted behind Antoine Bethea at the free safety position. So the CB1 of all CB1s in college ball last year is now a FS2 at the next level. Of course, one should not put too much stock in depth charts, Chip Kelly, when he was coaching the Philadelphia Eagles, famously said that he even let one of his Media Relations guys make it.
Julian Love is also in the mix for the lead nickel back position with the Giants, and unlike most rookies this NFL preseason, he’s learning two positions. The pace at which he learns the playbook will have direct impact on how quickly he contributes, and in what role(s).
Notre Dame defensive backs coach Todd Lyght is the mentor of all mentors to Julian Love, and during Notre Dame Media this past week, he shared his vision of a bright future for Love with the Giants.
“I think Julian will have a great career with New York,” said Lyght on Wednesday afternoon.
“He’s a great teammate, he loves the game of football, he studies the game, works extremely hard at perfecting fundamentals and technique, has a great understanding of schemes and concepts and having a natural feel for the game, being able to read route combinations and react to what the offense is giving him.”
Love has been playing mostly inside, but also a little bit outside this preseason
“As the season wears on, there will be a lot of opportunities for him to play all over the secondary, and I know that he’ll add a lot of value to that group and make a lot of plays and win a lot of football games with the New York Giants.”
— Paul M. Banks??? (@PaulMBanks) March 20, 2019
The NFL career that Lyght had is certainly a very high bar for Love to shoot for, as his DBs coach these past two season had three All-Pro seasons in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Rams in 1999.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.