By LaToya Gulley
Arkansas Media Relations
When senior linebacker Jermaine Love was asked what the Razorback fan base means to him, he responded with one word: family.
“My teammates, my coaches, they have become like family to me,” Love said. “I’ve always got their back, and they’ve always got mine.”
The Garland, Texas, native’s move to Arkansas didn’t come without a few bumps in the road. With his arrival in Fayetteville, Love had to make adjustments to life in a college town, as well as a higher level of play on the football field.
“Coming to Arkansas was definitely different as far as the speed of the game and also being away from home,” Love said. “I’ve always been a home body, so being away from my grandmother was a hard transition for me.
“It was kind of a culture shock coming to Fayetteville from Garland, Texas. There weren’t as many people here, and in the Dallas area you get used to traffic and crowds and things like that. So it was a little more country here, and I definitely wasn’t used to it at first.”While in high school, Love attained a North Garland High School record 135 tackles while playing in only seven games. Rivals ranked him the No. 19 outside linebacker in the nation and the No. 34 overall prospect in Texas, while Scout listed him as the No. 21 middle linebacker in the nation and the No. 60 overall player in Texas. With the help of his grandmother, Love chose UA over Nebraska, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
“You always need that one person to help you out and make that big decision,” Love said. “My grandmother helped me with that. She loves Arkansas. I chose the Razorbacks because I knew we would be playing for national championships, and I wanted to be a part of it. I also loved the style of play and the academics here.”
Love also received some encouraging words from Razorback football player and Arkansas graduate Sam Olajubutu when making his decision to attend Arkansas.
“When I came on my visit to Arkansas, Sam Olajubutu was my host. I was a little nervous, but he told me ‘If you balled in high school, then you will ball in college.’ That motivated me, stuck with me and gave me confidence that I could do it.”During his time at Arkansas, Love has experienced and witnessed some incredible games and has created many memories. He has been determined to be a leader and make a lasting impression on his fellow teammates.
“I try to motivate my teammates and bring energy,” Love said. “We work hard, so sometimes we have guys that are dragging a little bit. I try to pick them up and motivate them to finish practice strong. I try to be a leader on and off the field.”This season, Love has set big goals for the team and himself. He wants to leave Arkansas with the ultimate accomplishment, and he has confidence that the Razorbacks can make it happen.
“My only mindset for the rest of this season is to keep winning and play for a national championship,” Love said.”That would be a great way to end my career as a Razorback.”