Beaumont (TX) Central defensive back James Locke, better known as P.J., knows that good things come to those who stay patient. He’s a prime example of it.
As recently as December, Locke sat with two offers in hand; Northwestern and SMU. Now, to say that his recruitment has taken off in recent weeks would be a huge understatement for the nation’s No. 43 ranked corner.
Locke now holds close to 20 offers from teams such as Arizona State, Baylor, Indiana, Michigan State, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington State among others. He added TCU, Tulsa and Stanford on Wednesday.
In Locke’s words, it’s all came as a shock.
“It’s a great situation,” Locke said. “After all of the stuff I’ve been through with the injuries and stuff, it feels like the sky has opened up for me. I didn’t think all of this would all happen; it’s all been a big shock to me. I’m blessed for it.”
Locke attended a junior day at Oklahoma last weekend and on the way home he visited one of his latest offers; TCU. It was the second time Locke has visited the Ft. Worth campus and according to him, the visit was very worthwhile. Just a day later, the Frogs extended an offer.
“When I got down there I interrupted the defensive staff meeting,” laughed Locke. “They all just greeted me and Coach P (Coach Gary Patterson) was in there and they all pretty much showed me the love. They all told me they loved my film and gave me a campus tour. Then I came back and talked to Coach P for about an hour. We just talked football for about an hour, he told me before I came that he watched my film and said I was a phenomenal player. It gave me a lot of confidence. We talked a lot about the history of them and he was telling me that he’s been to five difference conferences in 14 years and he’s won every conference within three years. He was telling me that maybe this year maybe I can win the Big 12.
“I love Coach P, he has a great sense of humor. He seems like the type of person you can talk to. Plus, he’s a defensive coach which is a plus for me.”
After the hour long talk with the Frogs’ head coach, Locke admits he could see himself at TCU because it’s a program that fits his style.
“To me, I like to be part of a building process,” Locke said. “I know TCU, they’re rebuilding right now but in the next year or two they’re going to be at the top again. They’re in the rebuilding process and I’d like to be a part of it. I always had the mindset to catch a team on the upscale. That’s a big thing to me. I know Coach P is a great coach and he’s going to recruit the right players that fit his program and obviously I’m one of them.”
The academics at TCU have also impressed Locke, who wants to major in engineering.
“I asked Coach P if they offered engineering majors and he said yes. The reason I asked is because I want to be an engineering major,” he said. “They have academic advisors and how they have academic support. They have mandatory tutorials and have assigned tutors and that’s a big plus for me because I like to stay on top of things in school. I know it’s going to be hard because as an engineering major you have to study a lot. With a tutor, that will help me stay on top of things.”
At 5-foot-11, 190-pounds, Locke has the size to play either safety or corner at the next level. In fact, TCU mentioned the possibility of both. Locke knows he has the versatility to be the best on the field, just as former Frog Jason Verrett proved during his career at TCU. Locke says the coaches told him they could see similarities between the two.
“They did mention him a lot and said that I kind of reminded them of him because I’m a hard worker and everything,” he said. “I can be a versatile player. They said Jason was just a hard working person who came from California away from his family and everything. For the first month it wasn’t clicking but after it clicked, he steamrolled down the track. Now, he’s a potential top pick. They told me he was going to run a 4.3 (at NFL combine) and that’s exactly what he did.”
Up next for Locke are trips to Baylor next month and a mid-west trip to Northwestern and Notre Dame later in the spring.
“I’m trying to get out to Northwestern in the spring and I have Baylor on March 22nd and Notre Dame in April,” he finished.