Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Opinion: Sting of injury lessened by Love


Charlie Weis’ uncensored tongue has the Big 12 media buzzing, but it’s the news about talented junior college linebacker Marcus Jenkins-Moore undergoing knee surgery that has the Kansas University football fan base steaming.

First, deluxe defensive end Chris Martin misbehaved his way off the roster, and then Jenkins-Moore suffered a knee injury that required surgery.

It could be worse. At least one of those competing to fill Jenkins-Moore’s spot is an experienced outside linebacker who a year ago maximized the talent in his undersized body and made surprising contributions.

Jake Love, who has added more than 15 pounds and is listed at 6-foot, 221 pounds, is neither as tall nor as fast as Jenkins-Moore, but he does lead with his chin and play with a recklessness in how he puts his body in harm’s way.

A third-year sophomore from Tonkawa, Okla., Love has worked hard in the weight room and looks less like a safety playing linebacker than he did a year ago. He definitely played like a linebacker though. Ben Heeney wasn’t the only one who brought a rugged edge.

“I feed off of Ben a lot,” Love said during a spring football chat. “He’s kind of like a wild man out there. He’ll throw his face up into anything. Just being able to watch that, you see him make a big hit, and it will pump you up and make you want to make a big hit.”

Love made plenty of those a year ago, including eight tackles for a loss. He also credits Heeney with motivating him during the offseason

“Even in the weight room as well,” Love said. “He’s 100 percent all the time. I kind of look up to him. I’m trying to learn from him.”

Love did a little bit of everything in high school. In his junior season alone, he rushed for 2,856 yards and 47 touchdowns, registered 122 tackles and four interceptions and won state titles in wrestling and the long jump.

He’s plenty athletic, but his size held him back at times last season. He said there were times when he’d go up against massive offensive linemen and “get pushed around a little bit easier. I think adding 20 pounds will help me be a better run-stopper.”

Even if Jenkins-Moore’s injury forces him to red-shirt, Love will face competition at outside linebacker, most notably from speedy red-shirt freshman Courtney Arnick and junior college transfer Samson Faifili.

“There will be more depth,” Love said. “I love that. Overall, it will make everybody better because you‘ll be competing for a job.”

Competing is what Love does best. Don’t count him out.


kellerman411 9 years, 4 months ago

Losing Jenkins-Moore is huge. There is no one who I was looking forward to watching more than him.

Zstegs 9 years, 4 months ago

He has been hurt since the first practice of the summer, so the recovery process is probably further along than we would otherwise believe. That being said, I don't know if he'll have Adrian Peterson or Derrick Rose-like recovery from the torn ACL. I guess we'll have to wait and see

kellerman411 9 years, 4 months ago

I think he is pretty fast... If you win a state title in long jump, you are probably pretty fast and explosive. Let's hope the added weight doesn't slow him down too much.

NebraskaJayhawk 9 years, 4 months ago

I agree with you. I like our linebackers even without Jenkins-Moore.

Jim Jackson 9 years, 4 months ago

Keegan, what about Prinz Kande? He is also back from injury and was a 4 star HS recruit so the athleticiism is there..

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

To an extent you can improve speed with knowledge of the game. Knowing where to be ahead of time gives you a head start. Lots of slower guys make lots of big plays against faster competition because they are smarter/more intuitive/more prepared.

Nick Reid comes to mind, and Schyler Miles was sort of labeled a slow guy who makes up for it with intuitive play.

CrystalJones 9 years, 4 months ago

These two player losses could seriously threaten my 6-win expectation. Our offense will be superb, and the D only has to be decent. But I was depending on Martin and Jenkins-Moore to be key to our D. Not so sure about 6 wins now. Maybe 4 is more realistic.

Chris Bailey 9 years, 4 months ago

So everyone dogs Keegan out for his articles. This one was well written and pretty informative in my opinion.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

Victor Simmons is another guy with speed and pop who could fill in were MJM’s injury left a hole.

Heeney becomes 1st team All Conference

Love becomes last year’s Heeney

Arnick or Simmons become last year’s Love.

And don’t sleep on Faifili. That’s a pretty good LB unit even without MJM.

Mark Lindrud 9 years, 4 months ago

Hopefully, we've added enough depth that the defense can still be improved and will perform better. If the offense can stay on the field on a regular basis, then the defense can improve with more rest.

Jory Collins 9 years, 4 months ago

What's the word on Schyler Miles? I know everyone was excited about his commitment. Has he not developed like we'd hoped???

Commenting has been disabled for this item.