Somewhere in the attic of Bryce Love’s home is a collection of football cards. Among his favorites are those featuring Emmitt Smith, Adrian Peterson and Reggie Bush.
The cards are a remnant of a childhood pastime for the Wake Forest High running back and a fitting one for the senior who is one of the top football prospects in the state.
These days the majority of things Love does are focused on football and accomplishing team and individual goals. It’s a tough plate for the 17-year-old to balance with football consuming much of his schedule now as the Cougars (8-0, 4-0) are midway through the Cap Eight 4A schedule.
“I just try to make sure I have time for everything, don’t procrastinate with things and just try to get them out of the way as soon as possible, “ Love said.
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“Everything,” he said, entails talking to coaches on the phone, football practice, studying, writing papers, college applications and community service.
But Love doesn’t let football and the recruiting process detract from his classroom performance. He has a 4.54 GPA and plans to take a full load of Advanced Placement classes next semester, his last as a high school student.
He’s interested in biology, particularly genetics, and looked for colleges that offer a major or minor in that field.
“Bryce is an unbelievable student-athlete, but also if you get to know Bryce as a person, he’s a wonderful person,” coach Reggie Lucas said. “For me as a coach to have had the opportunity to coach him, it’s what any coach would want. He’s a complete athlete and a complete person.
“I think his family has done a great job of raising him, and obviously with all of the offers that he has, I think he’s very humble about it. If you met him outside of his uniform, you would not know that he had those offers, and I think that’s what’s special about him.”
Several years ago, Love, who still holds USA Track and Field records in the 100, 200 and 400 meters for 11- to 12-year old boys and 100- and 200-meter records in the 13-14 boys’ division, decided to turn his focus to football.
“I just love the game so much, and track at that time took up so much of my time, running nationally and competing took away from football, so really I just wanted to focus on football,” Love said.
The focus has paid off. Love is weighing offers from N.C. State, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Stanford, East Carolina, Florida and Wisconsin.
He hopes to make his decision during football season, a window that could be extended should the Cougars make a run to the N.C. High School Athletic Association title game for a second straight year.
He leads Wake Forest with 18 touchdowns, scoring at least once in 11 of the Cougars’ past 14 games. Those three games without a touchdown came at the end of the 2013 season when Love was hampered by a groin injury while Wake Forest completed its playoff run, eventually losing in state the championship.
“It definitely hurt considering you put in all the work with your team and then at the end of the day you can’t go out there and contribute, but I had faith in my team,” Love said. “I believed in them, but it was a humbling experience for sure.”
Now, with just a matter a months remaining in his high school career, Love said he is focused on on the present, “not taking anything for granted, going through and definitely getting my last few experiences in here and just keeping everybody motivated.”