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Sports

Football: Nazareth's Michael Love commits to Bowling Green

Younger brother of former Roadrunners' star Julian Love excited 'to do my own thing'

Nazareth Academy's Michael Love runs the ball against Benet at home in La Grange Park on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Bill Ackerman - For Shaw Media
Nazareth Academy's Michael Love runs the ball against Benet at home in La Grange Park on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Bill Ackerman - For Shaw Media

Nazareth football coach Tim Racki understands Michael Love’s plight.

With three older brothers, Racki is aware of the tough job of following in an older brother’s footsteps.

“I know how that pressure is,” Racki said. “The pressure is there. I know what it’s like being in the shadows of an older brother.”

Senior wide receiver Michael Love wrapped up his college recruitment on Saturday, pledging a commitment to Bowling Green. His older brother, Julian, was one of the best football players in Nazareth program history. A former four-star recruit, Love, a second-team All-American last season, is a junior starting cornerback at Notre Dame. 

Since he was a freshman, Michael Love said he’s taken a different path than his esteemed older brother — at least off the gridiron.

“We’re two different people,” Love said. “[Julian’s] definitely a lot more normal I would say and more focused. I’m a fun person and also talk a lot. We both have gone our separate ways.

“Having him as my brother was definitely a positive. People liked me because of him. There were a few negatives, too. I hear them from people, but I just ignore them. People do expect a lot out of me because of my brother. I’m definitely excited about this next step, to do my own thing. I’m ready for it.”

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Love selected Bowling Green over offers from Western Kentucky, Western Illinois, Minnesota State and a recent offer from perennial Mid-American Conference power Northern Illinois. The Falcons, under head coach Mike Jinks, have struggled the last two seasons with a 6-18 combined record.

Love said he picked up the offer from Bowling Green in the second week of June. 

“I took a visit last weekend to Bowling Green and liked everything about it,” he said. “I talked to the coaches and they showed me a ton of love. The campus is amazing and I want to go into business and their business program is one of the top in the country.”

Love said his older brother played a major part in helping him select the right college for him. The Falcons plan on playing Love at slot receiver.

“My brother told me certain things to look for and also to look for things I didn’t like,” he said. “He helped me a lot. He didn’t have a favorite school.”

Love, a two-way starter, played a central role in leading Nazareth (12-2) to a Class 6A state runnerup trophy. He caught a 30-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to end with six receptions for 121 yards while adding four tackles in Nazareth’s 28-21 loss to Prairie Ridge. 

He finished with 34 catches for 540 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 76 yards in his junior season.

Racki said the Falcons snared a major steal in Love.

“First of all, it’s an unbelievable get for Bowling Green,” Racki said. “Everybody has been late to the party for Michael Love. He’s very versatile and an explosive player that can make any football team better. He’s fast and a great player. People cannot catch him.”

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