Thursday, August 1, 2013
SEC the difference for 2015 DE Lockhart
By Max Olson
AUSTIN, Texas -- The dilemma ESPN Junior 300 defensive end James Lockhart (Ennis, Texas/Ennis) faces these days is one several of the state’s top prospects are familiar with.
Just how much is SEC status worth when comparing big-time programs?
Lockhart, the No. 98 prospect in the class of 2015, has two schools atop his list so far: Texas A&M and Texas.
“The only reason why Texas A&M is my No. 1 school is because they’re in the SEC,” Lockhart said. “But Texas, out of all my six offers, they showed me the most interest out of everyone. Plus my family is diehard Longhorns fans.”
Lockhart now holds offers from UT, A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech. He said he likes the brand of football the Aggies are playing these days and noted the SEC sends more defensive players to the NFL than any other conference.
James Lockhart admits to having curiousity about playing in the SEC.
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound end attended the Texas Stampede on Saturday and got a strong sales pitch from the Longhorns coaching staff. They assured Lockhart he’d have a chance to maximize his NFL-caliber potential at UT.
“I was talking to Mack Brown a little bit and he and Coach [Oscar] Giles basically said I have good size, they like my character and everything about me,” Lockhart said. “They said if you come to Texas, they’ll get you right and that I actually had the potential to become an NFL player. I thought that was real nice to hear.”
Lockhart and Texas and TCU have worked the hardest to recruit him. The two head coaches who have recruited him more than the rest are Brown and Gary Patterson.
His relationship with Brown and Giles made Saturday all the more fun for Lockhart. He didn’t know what to expect going into the day, but he went home happy.
“I enjoyed myself. It was a blast,” he said. “We met the president of the campus, they showed us around and all the facilities. I liked it. I loved it.”
Lockhart said one of his top goals in this process is finding a school that lets him get on the field as a freshmen and earn a starting job as a sophomore. He thinks he’d have that opportunity if he ends up in Austin.
“Coach Giles told me some important information, and not just him but the rest of the coaching staff,” Lockhart said. “They let me know how important I am to them. They basically told me I mean a lot to them and they mean a lot to me. They showed more interest than the last time I came here. I liked that a lot.”
Since Texas begins spring practices on Monday and Ennis gets going with two-a-days soon, Lockhart knows this visit came at a good time. For him, this was one last chance to catch up with the Longhorns staff before the season starts.
He’s already been assured that he’ll have passes from Texas for the Red River Rivalry game against Oklahoma in October and plans to attend.
To call Lockhart an early priority for the Longhorns might be an understatement. With the exception of Dallas Skyline hybrid Anthony Wheeler, Lockhart is the only 2015 defensive end who has received an early offer from Texas thus far.
He’s proud of that honor, but being ranked No. 14 among in-state prospects isn’t good enough in Lockhart's book.
“I’ve got to keep working to improve,” he said. “I’m not satisfied where I’m at right now. Right now, I’m the No. 1 defensive end in the state of Texas. That’s not where I want to be. I’m trying to be the No. 1 defensive end in the nation.”