BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Undersized and overlooked may have been how Jordan Love's football career started off but it's not how it will end. As the former Liberty High School quarterback is days away from hearing his name called in the 2020 NFL Draft.
By the time Love was a senior at Liberty, he was leading his patriots to championships. Although five years later, those memories are fresh from 2015.
"Still feels like yesterday like winning Valley championship," he said. "You know, it's just stuff that you'll never forget."
Ending with that valley title and then a state playoff run, Loves' quarterback journey may have had a late start at the varsity level with Head Coach Bryan Nixon not starting him until the middle of his junior year, but it wouldn't take Nixon long to have a change of heart. As Love would easily prove his arm strength and pocket passing abilities.
"He worked very hard to be good, you know, but he was good. So, when you you're good and you work hard, there's great things are going to take place, " Nixon said.
"He taught me a lot of good stuff that you know, carry me on to college got even got me to college. I mean, he's got me to where I am today," Love said on Nixon.
And, then Love had to wait again. He took his only FBS offer at Utah State and he wouldn't get his starting chance until his sophomore year, but now 6' 4" quarterback made national headlines, leading the Aggies to an 11-2 season, completing 32 touchdowns and passing for more than 3500 yards, sparking a Heisman campaign the next season.
Despite all the attention and hype, Love was unable to better himself from the previous year.
"I was hoping for a better a season. You know, it didn't turn out that way. And for me, you know, I'm a competitor. I still compete and fight even when we are behind," Love said.
Nixon recognized that resilient quality back in high school.
"If it's not going good and he doesn't let those things affect his next play. And that's, you know, imperative in success of the quarterback position," Nixon said.
He's never too high or too low as his former coach puts it, and that's something Love learned from his dad, former Bakersfield Police sergeant Orbin Love, whom the family lost back in 2013. But, he's still remained as his son's main reason to keep playing.
"My Dad is still a big part of my life, especially in sports, football, every decision I make, you know, with football, my decisions come out you know I'm thinking about what he'd say," Love said.
After declaring for the NFL Draft forgoing his senior year at Utah State, Love had just a couple more opportunities to make the most of including the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. He did just that and is now heading into Thursday's draft as the fourth overall quarterback in the 2020 draft class.
And, when he hears his name called amongst family, it will be just another chapter of perseverance added to a story.
"Them to be able to experience that with me, I'm super excited. I'm not sure how my emotions gonna be we'll see what happens. I'll definitely be smiling," Love shared with a big smile on his face.
The draft will begin on Thursday airing on ABC.