Utah State
Photo credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA Today Sports

Much has been said and debated about Jordan Love already this season. There have been some heated opinions shared over the Utah State quarterback, and it’s only the first week of October!  Regardless, he’s one of the hottest quarterback prospects in the nation, and this weekend against LSU, he has the opportunity of a lifetime.

The affection for Utah State’s Jordan Love in the scouting community is nothing new. Teams came away incredibly impressed with the QB a year ago when he was a true sophomore.  After going into Logan, Utah to grade prospects such as tight end Dax Raymond, scouts came away believing Love was by far the best prospect on the USU roster. Their affection for Love has only grown the past 12 months.

He’s a tall, athletic signal-caller with next-level physical skills and mental aptitude. Love does a great job controlling the offense, making proper decisions, and moving his offense down the field. He has a great quarterback build, and possesses the arm strength necessary for the vertical game and can make all the throws.

Love’s poise is impressive, as is his ability to make plays in the pocket or on the move.  He’s accurate and shows superb pass placement, putting the ball where only his receiver can come away with the reception.  Despite having average talent around him, Love gets the most from his teammates, using all his targets and spreading the ball around.

At times this year, Love seems to have taken too much onto his shoulders. He often presses when attempting to make plays, which has led to some mistakes. Regardless, the Aggies are 3-1 this season, with their only blemish being a 3-point loss to an undefeated Wake Forest team during the closely contested season opener.

But it’s a whole other ball game this weekend as Utah State travels to Baton Rouge to take on LSU. The Tigers boast a secondary that could start for most NFL franchises.

Junior safety Grant Delpit is a top 15 prospect. Cornerback Kristian Fulton has struggled at times this season but is still considered a first-round pick. And Kary Vincent Jr. is a second-day prospect who projects as a nickelback at the next level. Then there’s speedy linebacker Jacob Phillips, a fast-rising pursuit defender in the mold of Devin White.

This is a tall order for Jordan Love, who some scouts believe will be the first quarterback selected next April if he enters the NFL Draft. 

In many ways, Love’s situation reminds me of Ben Roethlisberger during the initial two games of his sophomore season. Big Ben led the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks to a victory over North Carolina in Chapel Hill but then lost a close game to Iowa the following week. These were games in which his team was predicted to have no chance, but they helped put the big passer on the map.

This weekend, Love has a chance to do wonders for his draft stock regardless of a Utah State win or loss.

Tony Pauline is PFN’s lead NFL Draft analyst. You can follow him on Twitter @TonyPauline. 

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