#STRecruiting: #Gamecocks eyeing one of nation’s top punters who will visit this weekend

Mason Love

Special teams are treated with special care at USC by head coach Shane Beamer and coordinator Pete Lembo. In their two seasons together in Columbia, they have produced one of, if not the nation’s best, special teams programs.

It’s not an afterthought with Beamer and Lembo, it’s an integral part of their success. With that in mind, Lembo has been on the prowl for his future punter, and he might have his guy in Mason Love (6-0 175) of Parkville, MO who will make an official visit with the Gamecocks this weekend after first connecting with Lembo in March of 2022.

“I sent him some game film and he’d like it, and at first that was really it,” Love said.  “He said the past six months, my improvement form-wise and technique-wise is really one of the reasons I showed up on his list so much.  He came down over the spring and watched me punt in person.  He said that was crucial for him to see me live.  That workout was probably one of the best workouts I’ve had in front of a coach. The next week he had a couple of people up for a workout.  He said if after those workouts we realize you’re our top guy, we can have you up for an official visit.  I’m just lucky that happened and it worked out great.”

Love said it’s exciting for him to be recruited by a coach and a program where so much emphasis is put on the special teams.

“They were number one in special teams in the country, which is huge, especially for a punter,” Love said.  “I know that his team works.  Had a couple of fake punts, which I like to hear.  I played quarterback my freshman year, so hopefully we can do a couple of plays if I end up going there.  It’s definitely appealing and definitely like the face he’s so invested in it, and so is Coach Beamer.”

Last season Love averaged 44.5 yards per punt with a long of 55 yards.

“Strengths, my form and technique,” Love said.  “I take pride in making sure it’s the most efficient and the best it can be.  Flexibility is also huge for a punter, and though it’s not where I would like it to be, it’s definitely better than other punters I’ve seen.  Also, the consistency with that form is good.  It doesn’t really help if you only hit one good punt out of five.”

Love is also getting the attention of Cal, Duke, Kansas State, Navy and Arkansas. He’ll figure out this weekend where he stands with the Gamecocks following the official visit.

“They are definitely up there, probably top two, if not one,” Love said.  “Right now, it’s between them and Cal.  Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll go to a couple of other camps, and we’ll see how they go.  I definitely think South Carolina and Cal are my top two at the moment.”

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