Denton Ryan HS
NR: 36 SR: 38 Rating: ***
An Inside Texas conversation with Denton Ryan head coach Joey Florence on Derek Lokey:
IT: What are Derek's strengths as a football player?
Florence: He's an intense competitor, No. 1. And I think he'll be one of the strongest incoming freshmen that they've probably ever had. He bench presses around 430-something pounds and his work ethic is second to none. Of course, he's a coach's kid and that obviously helps. His dad was an All-American linebacker at Stephen F. Austin in the late '80s and he obviously passed that tenacity on to his son.
IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you that they like about Derek?
Florence: No. 1, for his size he's a very quick player and he's an every down player. He plays hard every down and that's what most impressed them. Of course, he's a great student which made it a no-brainer for them also.
IT: Do you see Derek at tackle at Texas, or could he slide outside?
Florence: I see him as a defensive tackle but I'm not a college coach so I really don't know what they're thinking. I know that's what he's thinking. To me, tackle's his natural position. Obviously, he's going to have to get a little bit bigger to play on that level, but that's his natural position.
IT: Does he have a frame to add more weight?
Florence: To me -- I know he's 6-2, 6-3 and weighs 265-270 -- he's a pretty good sized boy right now. I don't know what they're looking for but he's a pretty good football player, I know that.
IT: What are the areas of his game that Derek needs to improve upon to be successful at the next level?
Florence: Everybody can improve, but he needs to keep working on his quickness and get a little bigger to be able to take the pounding on that level.
IT: Obviously you guys have been quite successful recently. What did Derek mean to your football program over that time?
Florence: I credit Derek with bringing a tremendous amount of leadership, not only on the football field but in the classroom and with his work ethic in the weight room. I think he made a tremendous impact on our kids with his commitment to strength and conditioning. Obviously on the field he's an intense competitor out there.
IT: Is there a defining moment for you that exemplifies Derek's ability as a football player?
Florence: This year, in our district open, he had a second degree MCL -- he hurt his knee pretty bad -- and we were playing our district rival Denton High School the next week, and they started working that Saturday night and worked all week trying to condition that knee and get it strong again so he could play in that game and I think he made the first three tackles of the game. I've just never had a kid play with a second degree MCL before and that's a credit to that young man and he knew our team needed him, and he played through some pain and made a great contribution.
IT: Is Derek a leader, and if so, how does he lead?
Florence: He's a leader by example. He can be exciting, but he's a leader by example. His character and the way he performs in the classroom, the way he lives his life, the way he comes to practice everyday and the way he played on Friday nights, he led by example.
IT: Anything that we didn't cover that you'd like to add?
Florence: He's a great student. I think he's made one B his whole academic career. He's a fine student, I know that and I think they got a great one.
*Photos by James Baldwin*
NEXT UP: CHRIS OGBONNAYA
Note: We've altered the release schedule a bit. We will return to Nathan Jones and Andrew Kelson at a later date.