Wake Forest High's Bryce Love embraces football, writing

tstevens@newsobserver.comSeptember 30, 2013 

Wake Forest High junior running back Bryce Love was excited last week on the eve of the Cougars’ Cap Eight 4A football opener against Broughton.

It only took one question to get him started taking about his upcoming assignment.

“The best part is when they give you the story starter,” Love said. “I just love that.”

Love, who is receiving national college football recruiting attention, was pumped up about his English class writing assignment.

“I love to write detective stories,” Love said. “I’ve always enjoyed science and math, but I’m really enjoying writing now.”

His overall grade point average is higher than his time in 40 yards (4.5 GPA to 4.3 seconds ). That is an equation that has garnered overtures from college coaching staffs around the country.

“I know how fortunate I am to have Bryce on my team,” said Wake Forest coach Reggie Lucas. “It really helps when you most talented player also is your hardest working.”

Lucas compared Love’s work ethic to former Cougar Marcus Jones, who now plays at Minnesota.

“Marcus wanted to be first in everything,” Lucas said. “If we were running sprints at the end of practice, Marcus wanted to win every one. Bryce is just like that. He wants to do his best in everything he does.”

Love knows he is fast; he’s known that since he beat current wide receiver teammate Brooks Cunningham in a recess race at Heritage Elementary in Wake Forest. Cunningham had always been the fastest in his class until the day Love beat him.

But Love also knows that fast isn’t enough in football, especially in the wing-T formation that the Cougars run. In the wing-T, the primary duty of running backs often is blocking for other runners. The runners must be able to run inside as well as outside. The ability to catch passes is desirable, but the Cougars run, run and run, although no one back carries the load.

The Cougars have averaged 271 yards rushing and 5.8 yards per carry since Lucas became head coach in 2009, but the workload is shared. During 2013’s 9-3 campaign, Love gained 1,043 yards. His average game was nine carries for 86.9 yards.

Love, who is averaging 144.6 yards per game and 13.6 yards per carry this season, has scored 10 rushing touchdowns.

He touched the ball 12 times in Friday’s 49-10 win against Broughton. Love scored on runs of 15 and 14 yards and caught a 51-yard touchdown pass. He rushed for 107 yards.

That’s fine with Love.

“I love our offense,” he said. “It is all about team. You learn to be a better player in this offense. You have to know how to block.”

Love is involved in the National Achievement Society, has helped work with youngsters in the community and worked in food shelters. Lucas said he is a terror in the weight room and represents the team well in the classroom and community.

But from college coaches’ perspectives, Love’s speed sets him apart.

Current Wake Forest assistant coach Jamie Holland played for the Cougars, Ohio State and the San Diego Chargers. Holland once ran a 4.2 in a NFL workout.

“I tease Jamie all the time that has to be a lie,” Lucas laughed. “No way he was faster than Bryce.”

Love is a national caliber sprinter. He was second in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A championships 100 meters/ last spring with a time of 10.68.

He also is the U.S.A. Track and Field national record holder in the 11-12-year-old boys 100, 200 and 400 and the 13-14 boys 100 and 200.

He runs in the summers with the Carolina Elite, where former Broughton High, N.C. State and Tampa Bay Buccaneer standout and all-star sprinter Danny Peebles is among his coaches. So is his dad, Chris Love, a former 400-meter state champion at Durham Hillside for Hall of Fame coach Russell Blunt. Chris Love was a track standout at the University of South Carolina.

Hines and Love are friends. They went together to Clemson’s wins over Georgia and N.C. State. But like Hines, Love said he isn’t thinking about his college decision yet.

In fact, on the day before his next game, Bryce Love is thinking about his next detective story. He couldn’t wait to get the next story starter.

Stevens: 919-829-8910

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