Feeling The Love: Michigan State, Michigan and West Virginia on board

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Youngstown Mooney LB/DB Courtney Love

Courtney Love will always have the memories. The question is who will land Love?


Courtney Love will always have the memories.

After
getting out to what seemed like a comfortable halftime lead in the
Division III State Championship, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior
linebacker and his Cardinal Mooney teammates withstood a late
fourth-quarter rally by Shawnee that ended with an incomplete pass in
the back corner of the end zone on fourth-and-six to preserve a 21-14
victory.

“The memories of (the game) feel great,” Love said. “It was exciting for sure.”

The victory earned Mooney its eighth state title – tying the
school for second all-time in Ohio with Newark Catholic – behind only
St. Ignatius (which earned its 11th state championship the next
evening).

And for his defensive exploits throughout the course of a
championship season, Love was named a first-team All-Ohio selection and
the D-III Co-defensive player of the year along with future Buckeyes in
seniors Adolphus Washington and Najee Murray.

“I’m not too sure what I’d grade myself but I thought I did okay
and I got the award so now I’ve just got to move forward and not too
much worry about that,” Love said. “I’ve just got to keep doing what I
got to do to become a better player and help take my team to another
state championship.”

A converted quarterback who auditioned to be Mooney’s signal
caller of the future at the beginning of his sophomore campaign, Love
gave up that quest around midseason last year to concentrate on becoming
a full-time defensive player.

“I always played on defense growing up so I feel like I’m a
natural on defense at the linebacker position,” Love said. “That’s my
favorite position on the field.”

It’s also the position schools like Nebraska and Michigan State have offered Love a scholarship for.

“I’m happy with the offers that I have and I’m definitely going
to look into them more this offseason and see if either of them will be a
good program for me to go to,” Love said. “Hopefully, more programs
will come and offer also so I can have a variety and see which one I
like the most.”

Could the Buckeyes be part of that mix? Ohio State has started taking an interest in Love.

“I just recently talked to Coach (Mark) Pantoni,” Love said of
the Buckeyes new director of player personnel. “He said on (Jan. 21)
there’s a junior day at Ohio State and (he invited me) down there to
visit with them and talk to a couple of the coaches. That sounds good to
me. I’d love to go down there and check them out as well. I’m
definitely going to head down there.”

Nebraska, Love’s first offer, is becoming an intriguing option
for any Mooney standout now that the Cornhuskers are in the Big Ten and
coached by Bo Pelini, a Cardinal Mooney alum. Nebraska’s roster is
currently dotted with three former Mooney stars.

“Distance is definitely not a problem,” Love said. “I’d love to
go down there and check it out and I plan to go down there as soon as I
can this offseason. I’ll probably check out a game and take an official
visit there next year.”

And Love intends to take an official visit to Michigan State as well.

“I got their offer like halfway through our season when they were
playing against Minnesota,” Love said. “I went up there for the game,
they invited me up, and Coach (Mark) Dantonio told me that they offered
me. So he wanted me down there, I got a chance to go down there and I
liked what I saw. And the coaches really were nice guys too.”

Love already has West Virginia marked down for a junior day visit
on Feb. 11 and is trying to set up a similar visit with Michigan as
well.

“They said that they’d love to have me there on an unofficial
visit to check everything out and see what they have to offer,” said
Love, who plans to take all official visits after his senior season and
then make a decision. “So it’s exciting to wait and see how things
unfold now.”

He’s certainly excited about what Ohio State has to offer with Urban Meyer now at the helm.

“They didn’t invite me down for a bowl practice but I’m
definitely excited about the invitation to their junior day,” Love said.
“I can’t wait to see how everything is with the new coaching staff and
all that. Coach Meyer brings a lot to the table and obviously he’s
making a big impact already recruiting-wise.”

Love is also big fan of Ohio State defensive lineman John Simon, another former Mooney standout.

“He’s just great,” Love said. “I hope he continues on doing what
he’s been doing because he’s really successful right now. He’s
definitely an inspiration. I was always a ball boy for Mooney when I was
in grade school and I knew him growing up so he’s definitely a huge
inspiration.”

Love, who currently sports a 3.3 GPA, has been clocked at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

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