RECRUITING '07: Cougs looking for Love

SIX TEXANS WILL appear on the roster when the Cougars open fall camp in a few months, in large part due to Leon Burtnett's diligence. And with new WSU recruiting coordinator Greg Peterson having spent the last dozen plus years canvassing Texas' high schools, it's a crimson trend expected to continue. One Lone Star Cougar target for '07 is Garland's Jermaine Love. A ferocious tackler with speed, he's already feeling the recruiting love from Washington State.

Given the class breakdown and a cupboard stacked with talent, WSU designated only one linebacker this last signing class -- Spokane's Andy Mattingly. But in recruiting, last year's bounty is this year's need. By this time next year, two starters (Scott Davis, Steve Dildine) will have graduated, and most key contributors and potential starters, save for Mattingly, will be upperclassmen.

Out of North Garland High just outside of Dallas, Love (5-11.5, 206, 4.46) is built in the mold of what coach Bill Doba and Washington State look for in a linebacker; sideline to sideline speed and a penchant for tackling with his face. He racked up a ridiculous 135 total tackles in 2005 (unassisted & assisted), with seven tackles for loss, nine sacks, 13 QB Hurries and three 3 forced fumbles.

In addition to the Cougs, Love said he holds offers from Kansas State, Nebraska and Iowa State. The Cyclones were at North Garland last Thursday. Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Michigan State and Miami are among other schools of interest. He has no favorites, saying he needs to learn more about all of the schools.

LOVE SAID WHILE he didn't know as much about Washington State as some of the schools closer to his Dallas-area home, he mentioned he was aware that a number of Texans in recent years have migrated to Pullman. He said distance will not factor into the equation.

"I'm in the early learning stages," said Love. "If (Washington State) is the right place, I'll go...I'd like to take my time and go through the visits."

LOVE'S OFFER TOTAL could grow over the May evaluation period, considering North Garland coach David Farris had six coaches in Monday, and expects four to five schools a day over the next three weeks.

"He's high on everyone's chart," said Farris. "And we've got a receiver they want to see -- Hubert Anyiam. And Adrian Linwood, he's our quarterback."

What sets Love apart out on the gridiron is that he goes full speed -- every down, every play.

"He's a really talented kid," said Farris. "He's strong, he's fast, and this and that, but what makes him special is the intensity that he plays with."

Of 27 selections to the 11-5A district first team defense this past season, Love was one of only three juniors selected. He was a unanimous all district choice.

Upcoming plans include Oklahoma's camp, the NIKE camp at SMU and the TCU camp.

LIKE MOST HIGHLY regarded prep prospects, Love hopes to continue his football career after college but he's also realistic, saying he wants to have a solid education to fall back on. That, and the strength of the football program will figure prominently into his decision.

His position at the next level looks to be linebacker but Farris said not to rule out running back.

"Everybody will tell you linebacker right now because the only people who have seen him at running back is us," said Farris. "Some heads are going to be turned when schools see him carry the ball. It might end up being a toss up -- he's as good a running back as he is a linebacker."

Jermaine Love profile

  • North Garland LBs coach Brett Cox, who played with TCU's three-time all-conference LB Shannon Brazzell while at Lewisville High, told the Dallas Morning News that Love is further along at this stage than Brazzell.

  • In 2005, four freshmen from southern states made significant season contributions at Washington State. Three are from Texas. MLB Greg Trent started 7 games, playing in all 11 while RB DeMaundray Woolridge averaged 6.0 yards a carry while piling up 312 rushing yards. LB Jason Stripling played in nine games and Louisiana's Cory Evans played in 10 games, with 18 hard-hitting tackles to his credit. Washington State welcomes three from the Lone Star state in 2006: CB Kerry Maddox, RB Chris Ivory and TE Jason Price.

    ANOTHER TEXAS PREP linebacker who is drawing considerable interst from the Cougars is Youri Yenga of Trinity High in Euless, Texas. "I am getting stuff from Sam Houston State, Kansas State, Washington State, Baylor and Kansas," Yenga said. "I probably get the most from Sam Houston State and Washington State," he told last week. He plays defensive end but with his 6-foot-0, 215-pound frame his likely destination in college is linebacker.

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR: This Wednesday (April 26) at 7 pm the CF.C Chat Room will feature Jeff McQuarrie, producer and director of an upcoming new feature film on the colorful history of Cougar football. Jeff has been working on the film for several years and along the way has talked to a Who's Who from the Cougar Nation including Keith Jackson, Drew Bledsoe, Marcus Trufant, Mike Utley and Steve Gleason. It promises to be a fascinating discussion.

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