Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 17, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 42 of 55 SEPT. 17, 2018 43 PREP PROFILES Notre Dame is off to a hot start on the offensive side of the ball in 2020, and one of the nation's top running backs has plenty of interest in the Irish. Reggie Love, a Rivals250 mem- ber from St. Louis Trinity Catholic, said he was ecstatic when he picked up an offer from Notre Dame earlier this year. "I was excited," Love told Blue & Gold Illustrated. "That's a dream to be offered to play at a big-time school like Notre Dame. It came out of the blue, too. The recruiting process had slowed down a little bit." Love, the No. 18 running back and No. 176 overall player in the nation according to Rivals, said he's a big fan of everything he's heard about Notre Dame. "I like their program," Love said. "When I talked with the coaches, they said it's great academically and on the field. They'll take care of me there. "With the program history, Notre Dame just stands out." The Missouri talent said it's easy to tell from talking to Notre Dame's coaches that the staff prioritizes the right things. "They're about academics first," Love explained. "And they care about the brotherhood between coaches and players." Love said Notre Dame stands out among his offer list that includes Ar- kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, TCU, Wisconsin and Purdue. "Notre Dame is up there," the four- star back stated. "They're one of my top schools. They stand out." The talented back doesn't have any visits planned for the fall as of now, but did mention that a trip to South Bend for a game is a priority for him. "I'm looking at my schedule and seeing what game I can make it to," Love said. "I do want to get up to Notre Dame." After a successful sophomore sea- son, Love said he hopes to take his game to the next level as a junior. "I want to improve on pass block- ing, which is a big key at the next level," he explained. "I also want to make people miss, finish explosive runs and catch the ball out of the backfield." — David McKinney Cincinnati Princeton 2020 line- backer Jaheim Thomas made it to Notre Dame this spring to check out South Bend during the program's an- nual Blue-Gold Game. Though the 6-5, 215-pounder didn't hold an offer from the Irish entering September, Thomas has remained in communication with defensive line coach Mike Elston throughout the summer. "We've been building the relation- ship mainly," Thomas told Blue & Gold Illustrated. "He's making sure I gain weight, get stronger and get faster. He stopped by school, too. He seems like a cool guy. He's laid-back. We have a good relationship. "I try to stay in contact with them once every week and if not then ev- ery two weeks or so." Thomas is appreciative of the op- portunity to get to know Elston and learn more about Notre Dame. "That's a big-time program, and they play big-time football," he said. "They send a lot of guys to the league." During his spring game visit, Thomas was impressed by multiple aspects of Notre Dame on and off the field. "I like how they are with educa- tion," Thomas said. "It was just dif- ferent with the way it looks. It's dif- ferent from the other colleges I've been to. It's not like a normal college. "I also like the way they play their linebackers on the field. What they do is what I'm being taught at my school. I could tell by the way they were moving. It wouldn't be a change from high school if I went there for college. They seem to run the same defense we do." An offer would put the Irish squarely in the mix for the nation's No. 10 outside linebacker and No. 147 overall player in the class of 2020. "That would be a big offer," Thomas said. "They would be in my top schools. It would mean a lot to me because it would show all my hard is paying off." Thomas holds offers from over a dozen schools, including Georgia Tech, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Ne- braska, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin. He isn't planning to make a decision until late during his senior year. Though a date is not set, Thomas hopes to make it back to South Bend this fall, along with visiting Michi- gan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Louisville and others. — Corey Bodden Missouri Running Back Calls Notre Dame A 'Top School' Ohio Linebacker Hopes To Visit South Bend Again This Fall REGGIE LOVE ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Trinity Catholic H.S. St. Louis Status: Offered Class: 2020 Position: Running Back Ht.: 5-10 • Wt.: 185 Rivals Rankings: No. 18 run- ning back and No. 176 over- all player in the nation JAHEIM THOMAS ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Princeton H.S. Cincinnati Status: Offered Class: 2020 Position: Linebacker Ht.: 6-5 • Wt.: 218 Rivals Rankings: No. 11 out- side linebacker and No. 151 overall player in the country "They're about academics first. And they care about the brotherhood between coaches and players." LOVE ON THE NOTRE DAME COACHES "That's a big-time program, and they play big-time football. They send a lot of guys to the league." THOMAS

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