As players take their final breaks before training camp, Redskins.com will take a deeper look at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them -- football and otherwise -- so far.
Next up is fourth-round running back Bryce Love.
1. Love was named USA Track & Field's Youth Athlete of the Year in 2009.
Love may be best known for his football savvy, but he grew up a track and field star.
In 2009, Love was awarded USA Track & Field’s Youth Athlete of the Year. Runners under the age of 19 are eligible, and Love won as a 12-year-old. That year, Love set national-record times of 11.64 seconds in the 100-meter dash, 23.37 seconds in the 200 and 50.75 seconds in the 400. It was the first time someone from the boys' 11-12 age group set three national records in a year.
Love has participated in football and track since he was 7 years old. He credits track to developing his speed.
“Track and football just have so many correlations,” Love said in a college postgame interview. “In terms of track specifically, running mechanics, stride length, arm movement; there’s so many different things that can be applied to the game. All that has kind of paid off in terms of football in general. Being able to really hit top end speed and knowing maybe how to maintain it longer than if I had never ran track. There are a lot of connections between the two.”
2. He was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2017.
Love enjoyed one of the nation’s best seasons when he was a junior at Stanford. He rushed for 2,118 yards and broke FBS records for yards per carry (8.1) and rushing touchdowns of 50 yards or more (13). Perhaps Love’s best performance that year came against Arizona State in October, when he rushed for 301 yards on 25 carries. His three touchdowns came on runs of 43, 59 yards. Love finished behind former Oklahoma quarterback and future No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield in the voting from the Heisman Trophy, awarded annually to college football’s best player.
Love was the fourth Stanford player since 2009 to finish as the Heisman runner-up, joining Christian McCaffrey in 2015, Andrew Luck in 2010 and 2011 and Toby Gerhart in 2009.
3. He formed a dynamic duo at Stanford with Christian McCaffrey.
Christian McCaffrey, now starring for the Carolina Panthers, set a high bar for Stanford running backs in 2015 by breaking Barry Sanders' NCAA record of 3,250 all-purpose yards and finishing with 3,864.
That season, Love joined McCaffrey to form a dynamic duo. While McCaffrey was a threat between the tackles, Love became an outside receiving threat. In 2015, Love caught 15 passes for an average of 16.7 yards per reception with a touchdown. The following year, Love complemented Christian on the ground with 111 attempts for 783 yards.
“Christian was the one who really stepped out of the mold so to speak of Stanford running backs,” Love said. “He set it apart of that you don’t have to be 250 pounds and be downhill to do these things. I’m not 240 or what not, but I have the ability to run in that same kind of physical manner that Toby [Gerhart] did or Stepfan [Taylor] and Christian were able to do. I have that same mindset and I hold onto it.”
4. He skipped Pac-12 media day to attend class.
Love returned for his senior season with an objective to complete his degree. He made his priorities clear the summer heading into the 2018 season, skipping Pac-12 media day to attend class.
Stanford head coach David Shaw showed his support in Love’s academic pursuits.
“The first thing I did when I heard [that he missed media day] was I laughed,” Shaw told ESPN in July 2018. “I thought it was kind of funny, but it was also what I talked to Bryce about when he decided to come back. He’s going to be judged on a different standard. He’s a superstar now and he’s the star in college football. He’s got to make decisions that are best for him and best for his football team. This [year] is not going to change his approach, he’s an outstanding young man.”
5. He wrote a letter to all NFL general managers prior to the NFL Draft.
Love was a potential first-round pick before tearing his right ACL at the end of his senior season, which damaged his draft stock.
Before the 2019 NFL Draft, Love wrote a heartfelt and detailed letter in The Players’ Tribune addressed to NFL general managers. He delved into his character and why he should be selected. He also laid out career highlights, background information and reasons he returned for his senior year.
“I can’t wait to show you what I can do — who I am — in person,” Love wrote. “I’m still the same back you remember from 2017, but now I’m even better. I will be ready to go for 2019 training camp, and I can’t wait to get to work.”
Love, who the Redskins scooped up in the fourth round, notes in the letter he’s an all-in-one package who can change a franchise.
6. He wants to become a pediatrician.
Love viewed his doctor as a hero whenever he visited the hospital as a kid. Since then, he’s dreamed of becoming a pediatrician.
Love majored in human biology at Stanford and earned Pac-12 academic honorable mention in 2017 and 2018. He graduated in June.
7. He’ll learn from a stacked backfield.
Heading into this season, Love joins a deep backfield of veterans and second-year back Derrius Guice, who also suffered an ACL tear in the beginning of the 2018 season, sidelining him for the rest of the year. They’ll recover under the guidance of veterans like Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson.
“I’m just thinking of myself as a sponge,” Love said at the beginning of OTAs in late May. “At the end of the day, I’m trying to take as much as I can from him and learn as much from everybody in the room. Everybody brings a lot to the table, and you’re talking about AP -- one of the best to ever do it. So it’s definitely a blessing for me and a great opportunity to learn from one of the greats.”