Jordan Love grateful for his 'crazy journey' to Green Bay

Packers’ first-round pick eager to learn from Aaron Rodgers

QB Jordan Love

GREEN BAY – Jordan Love did a double-take at first when the Utah State quarterback picked up his phone Thursday evening and saw the "920" area code.

It was a call the 6-foot-4, 224-pound QB had waited for his entire life. Now, surrounded by family, the kid who once had only one FBS scholarship offer coming out of high school was set to become the first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers.

An eruption of cheers followed General Manager Brian Gutekunst informing Love the team had just traded up four spots to take him with the 26th selection of the 2020 NFL Draft.

"My journey has been pretty crazy," said Love, in an interview with shortly after being drafted. "Under-recruited, not a whole lot of offers, and finally getting to college and making the most of it as a first-round pick. It's a pretty crazy journey."

It has included a lot of personal and professional triumphs. Love lost his father when he was only 14, an earth-rattling event that caused him to lean heavily on family, friends and football to pull through it.

On the football field, Love was a mostly overlooked prospect. Despite throwing for 2,148 yards as a senior and leading Liberty (Calif.) High School to its first-ever Central Sectional Division I Championship, Love's only significant college offer came from Utah State.

He took that lone opportunity and ran with it, breaking into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2017. Love proceeded to start his final 32 games for the Aggies, setting school records with 9,003 total yards and 12 career 300-yard passing games.

As a redshirt sophomore, Love established himself as one of the country's top quarterback prospects after throwing for 3,567 yards, 32 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He chose to declare for this year's draft after throwing for another 3,400 yards and 20 touchdowns this past year.

"As far as his skill set, he's a very natural thrower, can make all the throws, he's a very good athlete, he has the kind of size we look for," said Gutekunst, who watched Love live against LSU this past year. "I just think there's some rawness to him, but I just think he's got everything in front of him. And we really like the guy."

Regarded for his size, fearlessness in the pocket and natural arm strength, Love solidified his status as a first-round talent after running a 4.74-second time in the 40-yard dash and posting a 35½-inch vertical at the NFL Scouting Combine.

His stock only continued to climb throughout the litany of virtual meetings Love conducted with NFL teams over the past month. Chief among them was the Packers.

"I had an hour meeting and was able to break down a lot of different plays and background," Love said. "I had a good conversation with them. I think that's what was able to let them have the confidence to pick me and have the trust in me."

Getting drafted by Green Bay, Love knows he'll get to learn from one of the best to ever play the quarterback position in Aaron Rodgers.

Growing up in California, Love said he's watched Rodgers his "whole life." A student of the game, Love has tried to take little things from the two-time MVP and apply it to his own game.

"Being able to be in Green Bay and be behind Aaron Rodgers, that's one of the guys I grew up watching, learned how to do it from him," Love said. "I would say that this is a really good situation to be in, not being thrown out there. I'm behind one of the great quarterbacks in the league. So just being able to sit behind him and learn, what's better than that?"

There are areas of his game Love wants to improve – like cutting down on the 17 interceptions he threw in 2019. It was a teaching moment for Love, who says the spike was a product of trying to force some throws and doing too much at times.

Love plans to be patient throughout the development process, no different than the approach he's taken to the restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He's eager to talk to Green Bay's coaches and dive into the playbook just as soon as he's able.

In the meantime, Love is enjoying his Packers draft cap, spending time with close family and responding to the endless flood of text messages that blew up his phone the moment Commissioner Roger Goodell read his name aloud.

Once football is back, Love is more than ready to learn.

"You've got a lot of learning to do, and that's what I'm going to do," Love said. "I'm going to take that time to just be able to learn and grow as a player. And when that time comes and I've got to step in the game, I've got to make sure I'm ready for that."

Take a look at Packers QB Jordan Love during his college career.

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