Demons name former standout LeDell Love defensive line coach

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Former All-Southland Conference defensive end LeDell Love has been named defensive line coach at his alma mater, Northwestern State, said head football coach Brad Laird on Friday.

Love was a three-year starter for the Demons as he won four letters from 2007-10 while Laird was defensive coordinator for NSU. He has five years of coaching experience, the first two in 2013-14 as a graduate assistant on the Demons’ defensive staff, and for the last three seasons, as defensive line coach at North Carolina-Pembroke.

His stint at UNCP was highlighted by a 10-2 season in 2016 when the Braves piled up 35 quarterback sacks and came up with 30 turnovers. In Love’s three years as defensive line coach, UNCP collected 92 sacks while posting two winning seasons.

In Love’s most recent season at NSU, the 2014 Demons’ Purple Swarm defense ranked among the nation’s best in turnovers forced (5th in FCS, with 30), turnover margin (11th, plus 0.83), and interceptions (20th, 15). Five defensive linemen won All-Southland recognition in Love’s two seasons as a graduate assistant coach.

The 2013 Demons were second in the Southland in total defense and sacks. One of Love’s players, JeMarcus Marshall, won Freshman All-America honors.

Love collected 132 career tackles, 80 solo, with 21 ½ tackles for loss and six sacks, along with 14 quarterback hurries, seven forced fumbles and four pass breakups. He was all-conference as a sophomore and senior.

“The opportunity to be around LeDell as a football player, and then to watch him grow into a very successful young coach, makes it very gratifying to bring him onto our staff,” said Laird.

“He brings the passion and pride in being a Demon. We are getting a guy who not only is a good football coach, who knows the X’s and O’s, but somebody who really bleeds purple. This place means a lot to him. He left his heart out on the field every day that he played and was a great teammate.

“He earned a lot of respect from a different NSU coaching staff when he came back to be a graduate assistant in 2013 and in those two seasons developed the foundation for what is going to be a great career as a college football coach,” said Laird.

Love, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern, was also an honor roll student as an undergraduate.

“It’s exciting to be able to come home and help this program regain a great status, to get it back to where it was before in the glory days,” said Love. “I’m grateful to have this opportunity.

“I have a great passion for this program, this university, this town. We will hit the field and play as hard as we can for everyone.”

Laird said veteran staff member De’Von Lockett will remain as cornerbacks coach at his alma mater. Lockett has been on the NSU defensive staff since 2010.

Jake Olsen, last year’s linebackers coach, has also been retained and will shift to coaching the safeties, said Laird. The Demons’ new defensive coordinator will be announced next month, he said.