“It took him awhile to grow,” Barnes said. “Freshman year, he was shorter than most of us. It wasn’t until his junior year that he really had a growth spurt and even senior year he was still light, probably weighed 170 maybe. We used to make fun of him and call him ‘Nutella Sticks,’ and we used to try to make him eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”
When Matt Wells, then the head coach at Utah State, first laid eyes on him during the spring before Love’s junior year of high of school: “He was 6-2, 170 — and that 170 was maybe on a good day,” Wells said.cheap nike nfl jersey
“Whenever he came back from college, that’s a whole different story,” said cornerback Johnny Balderas, another of Love’s high school teammates. “This was a grown man, and it was amazing just how he looked. Time changed, and so did he.”
It took awhile, but the Jordan Love who got the call from the Green Bay Packers with the 26th pick in last month’s NFL draft no longer looked like a Nutella stick. These days, he’s almost 6-4 and 224 pounds and tough as leather both physically and emotionally, according to those who have watched him mature.
Such is the physical maturation of Love, who impressed the Packers enough for them to create one of the biggest stirs of the offseason when they traded up to pick him in the first round even though their two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers remains under contract through the 2023 season and has given every indication he plans to play through then (and perhaps beyond).
The answers started with Love’s mom, Anna. The longtime California Highway Patrol officer became the central figure in Love’s life after her husband and Jordan’s father, Orbin, a veteran of the Bakersfield Police Department, died by suicide in 2013. Anna Love declined comment for this story, but she wrote in Orbin Love’s obituary that he was “taken suddenly by a medical demon,” blaming his sudden change in behavior on a new blood pressure medication. Jordan was 14 years old at the time of his father’s death.
“He told my son, ‘I’m done with sports; my dad wanted me to play,'” said Dennis Hicks, whose son Dennis II was one of Love’s childhood friends. “My son would tell him, ‘Just stick with it, you’re too good. What are you going to quit for? He wanted you to be a quarterback. At least let’s finish out high school.’ So I think some of their little talks helped. Then he started to love it.”
Like Orbin Love, Dennis Hicks was heavily involved in his son’s athletic pursuits. Together, they coached Jordan and Dennis II in seventh grade basketball.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
“We were the only two fathers there when all the kids were trying out,” Hicks said. “He was at one end of the gym and I was at the other, and we saw this one coach trying to coach the seventh and eighth grade boys. We said, ‘Do you think this guy needs some help?’ So we asked him, and then next thing you know we’re coaching the seventh graders. Orbin was always there for Jordan.”