Texas Makes up Ground with Lockhart

Texas Makes up Ground with Lockhart

Defensive end James Lockhart talks about his recent visit to Austin.

"I enjoyed it," Lockhart said. "We had dinner, bowled, and I talked to Coach Brown. It was nice. The whole nine yards."

When talking to Brown, Lockhart said that the Texas staff revealed that it thought he had serious NFL potential. That shouldn't come as a shock — not only is Lockhart arguably the top defensive end in the state for 2014, but he's the only one that Texas has offered to date.

"I was talking to Mack Brown a little bit," Lockhart said. "He basically said, not just him, but Coach Giles too, they were just saying I have good size, they like my character and they like everything about me. They say that if I come to Texas, we'll get you right and I actually have the potential to become an NFL player. I thought that was real nice to hear."

That conversation came across as one of the highlights for Lockhart, who said that when the players arrived, Brown told them that the day's events would be a surprise.

"I enjoyed myself," Lockhart said. "It was a blast. We met the president of the campus [Bill Powers]; they showed us around and everything, the whole facility. I liked it. I loved it."

Lockhart has had a Longhorn offer for a long time, and he added to his offer stash when he visited TCU last week.

"Really, I feel like Texas and TCU seem like they're the only ones that show me the most interest," Lockhart said. "Those are the only teams where I've actually had one-on-one conversations with the coaches. I liked it."

Lockhart said he also liked his fit within the Longhorn defensive schemes. At Ennis, he said he plays a part of a multiple front, one that jumps from four-man to three-man and even up to a five-man front at times. Texas can be multiple at times as well, though Lockhart's primary position would be at strong-side defensive end. It's a position to which he is a unique fit: Lockhart currently stands 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, and ran the 40 in the spring in 4.72 seconds. Even more impressively, Lockhart said the Ennis coaches clocked him at 3.94 seconds in the short shuttle.

"I'm not satisfied with where I am right now," Lockhart said. "Right now, I'm the number one defensive end in the state of Texas. But you know, that's not where I want to be. I'm trying to be the number one defensive end in the nation."

With such lofty goals, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Lockhart wants to attend a school that prepares him for the league. In fact, he said Texas A&M leads for his services — Texas is second — solely because of its affiliation with the SEC, which has a reputation for putting defenders into the NFL.

"The main thing is just getting the offer and getting my education. But my main goal is to try and make it to the league," Lockhart said. "And I feel like SEC schools, they get more defensive players to the league.

"But then again, I'm trying to get playing time, too," Lockhart said. "If I don't start as a freshman in my college years, that's fine, as long as I get into the mix. If I can somehow get onto the field, you know, get a rotation in, or if I can start my sophomore year, I'm fine with that. I'm trying to star as soon as possible and get into the program as soon as possible."

The Longhorns made up a ton of ground on Saturday, largely because of the continued interest they've shown in Lockhart. And it doesn't hurt that his family is packed with "die-hard Longhorn fans." Some of those family members will likely join him at the Red River Shootout this year, as Lockhart said he planned to attend the game.

So what was Lockhart's main takeaway from Texas Stampede?

"They basically told me that I mean a lot to them," Lockhart said. "And they mean a lot to me."

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