Texas 'backer says WSU visit a priority

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED columnist Stewart Mandel last year tabbed WSU's Leon Burtnett one of the nation's "most respected recruiters," among the "best in the business." The Cougars' linebackers coach has developed a Palouse-Texas pipeline the last few years. One of Burtnett's 2007 targets is Jermaine Love, who deemed an official visit to Pullman a priority after talking with the Cougs last week.

And with Washington State recruiting coordinator Greg Peterson now in Pullman after spending the last dozen seasons recruiting Texas for K-State, Wazzu's reach into The Lone Star state only figures to extend further.

"I'm really going to have visit Washington State," said Love (5-11.5, 220, 4.46). "I just called them. They were the first school to offer me. (Coach Burtnett) was talking about how they'd like to get me down there on a visit and work with me because they really like me."

THE OLD BUZZ on the Garland linebacker was sideline to sideline speed with a penchant for tackling with his face, but that he might be a little light at 206 pounds. The new buzz is he's put on some muscle this offseason while retaining his speed.

"I weight 220 now," said Love. "And at the OSU camp and at the Texas camp I ran a 4.4. How do ya'll go about ranking the stars, anyway? I'm going to be the top linebacker, you watch."

Despite double digit offers, Love currently has a one-star designation, meaning he has yet to be evaluated by Scout.com. His highlight tape is expected to arrive soon, look for it in the near future on his Scout.com player page.

IN ADDITION TO Washington State, Love said those who have offered include Arizona, TCU, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, SDSU, Texas A&M and others. His list of top schools is volatile from one day to the next, but colleges like TCU, LSU, Oklahoma and the Florida schools are consistently near the top.

Love recently attended a camp at Texas and although reported earlier, Love clarified that he actually doesn't yet have a Longhorns offer. He does, however, think one might be coming in the not-so-distant future after speaking with members of the UT staff.

"I went into the office and talked to Mack Brown, he said he was going to sit down with the staff and talk about offering me, maybe next week," said Love. "Mack Brown, he said he hadn't seen that much explosion for (a prospect) going into his senior year. The only thing I could do was just smile."

Still, Love said if Texas were to offer he would want to explore all his options and take some visits before coming to a decision.

"I'm really still just looking around," said Love. "They're one of the options."

  • Love set the North Garland school record for total tackles as a junior with 135 takedowns. He logged seven tackles for loss, nine sacks, 13 QB Hurries, two interceptions and three forced fumbles. Of the 27 players named to the 11-5A first team defense this past season, Love was one of only two juniors selected. He was a unanimous all district choice.

    Jermaine Love profile

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