Love Hearing From Duke Often

Tennessee has been good to the Blue Devils over the past few years as head coach David Cutcliffe and his staff have re-established the recruiting contacts from previous coaching jobs. In hopes of going into the Volunteer state in a big way in 2011, Duke has established contact with one of the state's top lineman prospects.

"I visited both Duke and Kentucky earlier this Spring," said Harriman (Tenn.) High standout Shaquille Love. "Duke's campus was like something out of a royal family and their facilities were top notch. I also liked UK. You could tell they have some tradition and it was a really home styled setting that I could get used to."

Love, a 6-foot-5, 270 pound two way lineman, has been fielding interest from a number of schools over the course of the last few months. And while he admits some schools are starting to "stick out", he's not ready to name a top five list at this point citing a desire to take a number of additional visits.

In the meantime, however, the talented rising senior admits that Cutcliffe and his staff are working as hard - if not harder - than any other staff he comes in contact with.

"I have talked to Coach Cutcliffe and Coach Hobbie a lot. I have a good relationship with Coach Cutcliffe and his staff. I talk to my recruiting coach at least once a week and with Coach Cut on occasion. Overall the entire staff is great. They are excellent people and great role models. There's nothing negative at all in regards to their staff."

Given Duke's pre-Cutcliffe era history, the Blue Devils often find themselves battling ghosts of winless seasons past on the recruiting trail. However, Love says that the coaching staff is not shying away with what's happened. Nor where they are going.

"They have told me they are building a program and I believe it because they have a winning coaching staff. They have told me I can come in and help them in a number of ways, and that I would be a valuable addition to their program. They have really enforced the idea that they want me to come to Duke and have shown me a lot of the opportunities available to me at Duke."

In addition to the Blue Devils Love has offers from Memphis, Kentucky, and Middle Tennessee State. He's also getting interest from Wake Forest and Tennessee. The continued and expanding attention has been a kind of double edged sword for him.

"It's truly a blessing, but it's also intimidating. I have literally thought that things are really picking up and getting real."

Still, as he progresses through the process Love knows what he's going to be looking for.

"I want to see how I feel on the campus and around the players and coaches. Family and a family style atmosphere is really important for me. On top of that is education. I realize that one day I have to take the cleats off and will have to use the degree I earn. Overall it's how I fit in."

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