Julian Love almost became the 35th unanimous All-American in Notre Dame football history today. The Walter Camp Foundation, the Associated Press, the Football Writers Association of America, and the Sporting News had all previously named him to their first teams; the American Football Coaches Association was the final piece of the puzzle. As fate would have it, it was the wrong piece – they put Love on their second team in deference to an all-SEC first team of Grant Delpit (LSU), Deionte Thompson (Alabama), Deandre Baker (Georgia), and Greedy Williams (LSU). As a recruit, the 247 Composite had Love ranked #480 overall and #46 at the cornerback position. Four of the five major selectors of college football All-America teams just unanimously declared that he’s one of the top four defensive backs in the country, and the fifth said he’s one of the top eight. Kid did good.
Love was nearly Notre Dame’s first unanimous All-American defensive back since Shane Walton in 2002; his position coach, Todd Lyght, is the only other unanimous defensive back in school history. He would’ve been in excellent company. On the upside, he’s still in great company as Notre Dame’s 102nd consensus All-American, which is comfortably the most all-time ahead of Ohio State’s 85.
Statistically, Love was dominant despite teams avoiding him as much as they could. He logged a momentum-swinging scoop and score against Virginia Tech, the third defensive score of his career. He was eighth nationally in passes broken up with 15, extending his career total to 38. His 20 breakups in 2017 broke Clarence Ellis’s 1969 single-season school record, and he passed Ellis for the all-time Irish lead with his 33rd career breakup in the Stanford game this year. Love and counterpart Troy Pride were a formidable pair this year, as each allowed a single receiving touchdown all season. Some might point out that Julian is no Deion, and that’s fair – Love had 47 solo tackles this season to boost his career total to 124, while Deion had *checks notes* -3.
As the accolades mount, it seems ever more likely that Love and Pride will be torn asunder in April. We may have to bid Julian a fond farewell then, but he will have left us with some fantastic memories – maybe even a couple more beyond what we’ve already seen, with any luck.
He’ll also have left us with this all-time FIDM gem:
So how much pizza and ice cream will you consume, loyal Irish fan, on April 25th 2019?
One Man Show? Nah…
Love deserves copious kudos for his accomplishments, but of course when a team goes 12-0 there’s a good chance multiple guys will garner national recognition. Here’s the full list of Irish players who have received notable consideration (major selectors listed in bold):
- Te’Von Coney – AP-3, CBS-2
- Julian Love – AFCA-2, AP-1, FWAA-1, SN-1, WCF-1, CBS-2, CFN-2, ESPN-1, SI-1
- Alize Mack – SI-2
- Sam Mustipher – AFCA-2, FWAA-2, ESPN-1
- Jerry Tillery – AP-2, SN-2, CBS-1, SI-1