Colston Loveland’s story begins in rural Bliss, Idaho, a small town that butts up against I-84 on the way north to the state’s capitol in Boise.
There isn’t much there for its 300 residents, and the city was the focus of a recent CNN article highlighting ‘disappearing’ towns.
Yet Loveland, the Michigan tight end who grew up on a farm wrangling horses, sheep and cattle, found an early love of sports.
He was a tall, lanky kid with an older brother who helped show him the way. They played basketball and were eventually drawn to the game of football.
“He kind of dragged me along with him,” Loveland said. By the time Loveland hit junior high, those around him began recognizing his large frame and sure hands.
He was a receiver then and had a knack for always being in the right place at the right time,
a trait many Wolverines fans saw during the 2023 season, his freshman year, said his high school coach Cam Andersen.
“When the ball was in the air, (he) always came down with it,” Andersen said, who coached the varsity football team at Gooding High School, where Loveland attended.
It became so obvious, Andersen said, that the freshman and JV coaches urged him to fast-track Loveland to varsity. And so he did, bucking a precedent of never placing a freshman on the varsity team.
So he started every single game at wide receiver alongside his brother,” Andersen said. “That’s when we knew his ceiling was way higher than we first thought.”
His older brother, Cayden, set several receiving records at Gooding and went on to land a scholarship at Carroll College of the NAIA. Loveland would chart his own legacy.
Loveland’s sophomore year in 2019 could be described as the turning point. He blew up as a receiver, catching 91 passes for 1,147 yards and 14 touchdowns,
all while his coach was plotting an eventual move to H-back, a tight end that sits back from the line of scrimmage.
Meanwhile, Loveland was already catching the eye of college recruiters.
When schools came by Gooding to watch its star quarterback Shane Jennings, it was Loveland who they quickly became interested in.