HERO Sports is counting down the days until the kickoff of the 2018 college football season on Saturday, Aug. 25, by featuring the best player in the FBS at each jersey number, from 99-1. Each day, from May 18 through Aug. 24, we'll publish one article showcasing the best player whose jersey number matches the number of days remaining.
No. 27 Julian Love
Notre Dame – CB
Among the improvements to Notre Dame's defense in one season under coordinator Mike Elko, who has since left for Texas A&M, were drastically improved numbers against the pass:
Passing Downs S&P+: 105.3 to 141.8
Yards Per Completion: 12.2 yards to 11.1 yards
Yards Per Attempt: 7.5 yards to 6.3 yards
Sack Rate: 3.99 percent to 5.12 percent
While Elko deserves credit for turning around a unit, it wouldn't have been possible without someone like Julian Love. The now-junior cornerback ranked second nationally in both pass breakups (20) and total passes defended (23). The pass breakups were a program record.
Love, a former three-star recruit from La Grange Park, Ill., also had 68 tackles, three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns). And his coaches say he can be even better as a junior in 2018.
"He’ll make a big play, and then he’ll come back and he might go into a little bit of an autopilot mode where he’ll relax a little bit and not really push himself past his comfort level,” cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght said. “Just to continually stay on him about his focus, his intentions, his attention-to-detail, his pre-snap readiness — [those] are going to be the keys to getting him to the next level.”
Julian Love enters the season as an All-America candidate and the best No. 27 in college football.