Kyle Love has taken advantage of an opportunity and made more of it than most ever would have thought possible.
When most college football fans try to brag about the success of the school they are a fan of, they often like to speak of any players their school has playing in the NFL. Mississippi State has produced a significant number of players in the NFL, but there is one that most likely forget when talking about the program’s NFL success.
Kyle Love was a solid contributor to the Mississippi State Bulldogs while he was in Starkville. Sylvester Croom recruited him to the team, and he finished it off in his senior season which was Dan Mullen’s first in 2009. His numbers at Mississippi State were nothing special. He only had three and a half sacks, all of which came his junior and senior season, and nine tackles for loss.
But he showed enough potential in his final two seasons to give the New England Patriots a reason to sign Kyle Love as undrafted free agent. And as expected for a player who wasn’t drafted, it took a while for Love to make an impact on his new team.
Kyle Love only played in one of the New England Patriots’ first eight games of his rookie season in 2010. By the ninth game, he had done enough to earn a spot on the active roster and receive a little bit of playing time. He even got a chance to make a start in the final game of 2010.
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In 2011, Love did enough to become a regular starter for the New England Patriots. He started 13 of the team’s 16 games alongside Vincent Wilfork and the two clogged up the running lanes of opposing teams. The sheer size of Love allowed the Patriots to be flexible with their defensive scheme. They could use Love as a Nose Tackle and play a 3-4 and put Wilfork on the outside, or go 4-3 and pull him back on the inside with Love. Kyle Love recorded three sacks and 20 tackles for the Patriots, and started in the team’s loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl.
2012 wasn’t as successful for Love. He recorded less tackles and sacks for the Patriots and found himself without a team for all but two games in the 2013 season. The Panthers added Kyle Love for their Playoff game in 2014 against the Seahawks where the Panthers lost 31-17. While it was a tough two year stretch for Love, getting on the Panthers playoff roster for that lone playoff game gave him the chance to be on the team’s roster entering the preseason for 2015.
Love won a spot on the team as one of the back-up defensive tackles for the Panthers. Kyle Love has served mostly as a reserve, but he did start in two games and added depth to one of the better defenses in the NFL. Love will get to play in his second Super Bowl in five seasons when the Panthers take on the Broncos later today.
The NFL career of Kyle Love hasn’t always been the smoothest of rides. But the story of Kyle Love shows that with a little bit of patience and a whole lot of perseverance, a person can overcome all of the obstacles placed before them in the most unlikely paths to success.