October 5, 2009 9:06:00 AM
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
Jamerson Love didn''t need another game to help him make his decision.
The Aberdeen High School senior running back had already decided on a college before attending Mississippi State''s game against No. 25 Georgia Tech in Starkville on Saturday.
All Love had to do then was wait to make his announcement.
Georgia Tech''s 42-31 victory didn''t deter Love from informing MSU coach Dan Mullen that he wanted to make a verbal commitment to become a Bulldog.
"I had made my mind up earlier in the week I was going to do it and I wanted to wait until Saturday to tell the coaches," Love said. "I had told my (high school) coaching staff earlier in the week I was going to do it."
Love''s announcement on his unofficial visit made Saturday a little more enjoyable for MSU. The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder is considered one of the top running backs/athletes in the state of Mississippi. He picked MSU over Ole Miss, Southern Miss, and Arkansas State.
"I always liked Mississippi State," Love said. "I think I have a better chance there than any other school. They gave me the best offer."
Love said the MSU coaches will give him a chance to make his mark at running back or cornerback. He said he is looking forward to competing in the Southeastern Conference, a conference many college football experts believe is the best in the nation.
"I would rather play cornerback at Mississippi State than any of the other schools," Love said. "I will be going against some of the top-notch receivers in the NCAA."
Love said the MSU coaches offered him a scholarship in July. He said they told him he will have the opportunity to earn playing time at running back and that he will play on offense if he dominates at that position. That sounds fine with Love, who believes he has the skills to contribute.
"I have the speed," said Love, who was ran a 4.36 or 4.37 in the 40-yard dash at a MSU camp this summer. "People might question my size, but I plan to get bigger and stronger in the offseason. The main thing is to get bigger and stronger in the offseason.''
Love added 10 pounds and got stronger in the offseason to complement his game-breaking speed. He also said his improved ability to read holes has helped him have a good start to his senior season.
"If it doesn''t work out at cornerback I am going to work real hard at running back," Love said. "I really haven''t played cornerback until this year, but I am going to try my best running back. I know when I get the ball in my hands I can make things happen."
Aberdeen High offensive coordinator Kris Pickle said there is a big difference between Love''s play at running back this season compared to last season.
"This year he is seeing the hole and exploding through it," said Pickle, who is in his third year as an assistant coach at the school. "He has an extra gear that he can bust through it. Last year, he was a little tentative, but he has gotten bigger and stronger, which has helped him get even more confident."
Aberdeen coach Chris Duncan couldn''t be reached Sunday for comment.
Verbal commitments are non-binding. MSU coaches can''t comment about high school players until they have received a signed national letter of intent from that player.
Love likely will use National Signing Day in February 2010 to make his decision official. He said he considered attending Southern Miss, which he said offered him a scholarship in the summer before MSU. But he said he couldn''t pass up a chance to stay a little closer to home and to challenge himself against some of the best players in the country.
"I am really excited about it," Love said. "I was thinking about what I might do at Mississippi State, but I have to start focusing back on my teammates (at Aberdeen High) and my coaching staff and get my mind right now back on me. That''s why I wanted to make my decision so early."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.