Love weighing his options

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By The Staff


Roane Newspapers

Most high school football players have a dream to play football at the Division I level in college, but most never get the opportunity to live out that dream.

Harriman's Shaquille Love, however, appears well on his way to living out that dream as five D-1 schools have already offered the 6'5” 261-pound lineman and many more are expected to offer before Love finishes his high school career this season.

“It feels good but it's also a relief because a lot of people can't afford to go to college,” Love said. “It's a real blessing for me because I know I'm going to get my education paid for and I'm going to get to play football.”

“I'm always happy when a kid get a chance to move on to and play at the college level,” Harriman head coach Travis Tapp added. “I'm really excited for Shaq because he's a great kid and he's easy to coach. He's the type kid that shows up early every day and works hard, but he's also very humble and very thankful. He knows the Lord has blessed him.”

While Love shows up early and works hard, he hasn't let his recruitment become a distraction for himself or his Blue Devil teammates.

“Shaq really doesn't talk about it that much,” Tapp said. “I'm excited for him and all the kids are excited for him, but right now he's worried more about his senior season here than his four years in college.”

“Nothing's really changed,” Love added. “I'm just a regular kid working out and getting ready for my senior season. I'm excited and I know my teammates are excited for me, but I don't like to talk about it too much.”

So far, Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, MTSU and Memphis have offered Harriman's mammoth lineman while schools like Tennessee, Florida and Notre Dame are still evaluating Love. The Vols and Gators are wanting to see Love at their summer camps.

Love says as of now no one is in the lead for his services. He even says the ultimate decision will be based on three factors and playing football isn't his top priority.

“The biggest thing is family,” Love said. “I want to go to a place where I feel like I'm part of a family. So far every place I've visited I have enjoyed because they make you feel wanted.

“The second thing I'm looking at is my education. I know one day the cleats are going to come off and I'm going to have a degree. That's a blessing in itself.

“The third thing I'll be looking at is football and where I fit in there.

“I’ll just continue to pray about it and wait until the Lord tells me where I need to be.”

While Love says no one is in the lead for his services, many people around Harriman are hoping he one day wears the orange and white of Tennessee like former Blue Devil great and Love's second cousin Jermaine Copeland. Love has even talked with his cousin about the recruiting process.

“I've talked to Jermaine and he just told me to go where it feels right,” Love said. “I'd love to get an offer from UT and I know a lot of people want me to go there, but I'm not going to jump on an offer from anyone. I'm going to wait and see where the Lord wants me to go.”

Love is also thankful for coach Tapp during the recruiting process as he knows his ole ball coach is looking out for him.

“Coach Tapp loves his players and I know he's taken a lot of time away from his family and church to help me,” Love said. “He's told me to pray about my decision and he'll support me wherever I go.”

“Shaq's got a hard decision in front of him,” Tapp added. “It's not my place to tell him where to go, but rather to give him as many opportunities as possible by getting his film to the right people.

“So far he's visited three schools (Kentucky, MTSU, Duke) and all of those schools have coaches with great character. He'll make his decision when the Lord leads him to it, but I know he'll make a good decision because of what he wants from a school.”