Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rising star watch: Jordan Love

Jordan Love of Liberty-Bakersfield combined for 23 touchdowns throwing and running this past season, as the 2016 quarterback prospect led the Patriots to an appearance in the Central Section Division I title game (photo contributed).
It probably won't be long before college football programs show 'Love' to a Liberty-Bakersfield quarterback.

Jordan Love took over as the Patriots' signal-caller on Sept. 5 and didn't look back. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound junior gave the Pats a deep ball element with his howitzer on his right arm, as he unleashed bombs and Hail Mary's for a Liberty offense that scored 38 or more points in six games this past season.

Is he the No. 1 quarterback for Kern County's 2016 class? Time for Cali Gold Mine to weigh in:

WHAT TO LIKE: Love is excellent at fooling secondaries in the play action. He does a sturdy job of faking the handoff, looking up for his target and taking his shot down the field. He shows good eyes when locating an open receiver. He's athletic and can turn quarterback keeper runs into long gains or touchdowns. He's a former wide receiver, which gives him an edge in sprinting past defenders. Shows good comfort in the pocket, but can also frustrate defenders by escaping the rush, rolling out and completing his throw.

WHAT TO BUILD ON: I need to see how he handles the short throws and how accurate he is there. I noticed most of his passes were throws that sailed 30 yards or more down the field. When he scrambles, he runs too high and needs to work on keeping his shoulders and hips low, especially when a flock of defenders surround him. I'll also be curious about his leadership intangibles, because next season he'll quarterback a younger Liberty team that will lose some of its top playmakers to graduation.

OVERALL: Love isn't the complete package at QB yet, but he's fully capable of emerging as Liberty's next most highly-recruited star. He has the physical tools to succeed, including his deep ball and athleticism. A big offseason and senior year could get Love to become the next best quarterback in a county that's produced stars David Carr, Derek Carr, Cody Kessler and Tyler Ferguson.

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