Busy, busy, busy - that is one way to describe the current life and times of James Locke.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound defensive back from Beaumont (Texas) Central has been busy picking up scholarship offers and making his way to college campus after college campus. On Wednesday he welcomed three new scholarship offers from three different conferences and three different states. First was an offer from the TCU Horned Frogs.
Locke visited TCU on Monday where he was able to meet up with coach DeMontie Cross. He toured the facilities, met with coach Gary Patterson and was able to get a feel for the overall program. There was a thought an offer may soon arrive, and after talking with Cross on Wednesday Locke was notified of his TCU offer.
"Right off the bat it's another with academics," Locke said of TCU. "When I went up there and visited I loved their academic support program and advisors. I sat down and talked with an advisor and they just do a lot for football players. I'm going to have a strong major and it's going to be big for me. I'm going to major in engineering so it's going to be real big for me. I like to stay on top of everything, so I would like tutoring sessions and all of that and they offer all of that too. Secondly would be a football program. Coach P has coached in like five conference in the last 15 years and it's taken him three years to win every conference. He's a great coach. They have a DB in the combine right now."
The second offer came from the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Locke hoped to visit Tulsa over the weekend but he was unable to work it into his schedule. Locke has been keeping in touch with coach Jess Loepp, and while he was not able to visit the campus Locke and Loepp did stay in touch over the weekend and on Wednesday he received his offer.
"I know Tulsa has a great engineering program," Locke said. "It's a good degree by itself. Just to start off with academics. I haven't been up to Tulsa to check out the campus but based on talking to the coaches and having relationship with the coach, coach Loepp, he's a great coach. We've been at it for a little minute now. I can talk to him about everything. He's always asking about the family and he asks about my grades and how my day is going. Just for them to offer me they're at the top for sure just on relationships and everything. And then academically…."
The final offer the day was a bit more of a surprise to Locke. Stanford is a program Locke has expressed a strong interest in from the beginning. He has sent tape and has called coaches and has reached out. Until Wednesday Locke had not received much feedback. Then as he was returning home from a long day, he received a call from his father who let him know he received a long awaited response from the Cardinal. Stanford was now in the fold with a scholarship offer.
"Well, the football program of course but I've researched and everything, and I know for a fact after football if I write Stanford on a job application right off the bat that job is mine," Locke said. "I know they have a great mechanical and computer engineering program and those are two of the majors I'm still debating over. That's a big plus."
Locke has yet to visit Stanford but he hopes to visit later in the spring with stops at UCLA and USC also possibilities. Over the weekend he was busy taking a few trips closer to home. The trip started with a stop in Austin for the Texas junior day.
"It was really wild," Locke said. "It just seemed like a different atmosphere when you hit Texas now. We know coach (Vance) Bedford kind of. Him and my aunt were high school sweethearts, so I'm almost sure she's harassing him right now about offering me.
"I was like the first one up there, and coach (Chris) Vaughn, he's my recruiting coordinator and he's the DBs coach. Him and coach Bedford were the first ones to greet me in and we sat and talked for about 30 minutes about the hype I'm getting and how I'm blowing up and academics and they just wanted to know about me and my background.
"We were just having a face-to-face talk about everything. That was pretty good. Then when we got to junior day they were just really enthusiastic. Just the way they were talking and how they put exclamations on everything. They were raising their voices."
Next, Locke headed north to Oklahoma to check out the Sooner program. He was greeted by coach Mike Stoops and Tim Kish. He was able to see what he looked like in a Sooner uniform, tour the facilities, and check out the academics.
There were a few aspects of the visit which stood out to the Locke.
"I'd say the campus really," Locke said. "Plus it was really my first time coming out of Texas. It was nice to get out of Texas and see stuff that's not in Texas. That was pretty big. But the campus caught my eye really. Their dorm, it was like a five-star hotel. I know you can't base recruiting off of that, but that kind of stood out too."
From Oklahoma, it was up to Stillwater to check out Oklahoma State where he was able to connect with coach Van Malone. He was able to experience quite a bit in Stillwater, but at the end of it all he kept coming back to his conversation with Malone.
"That's what stood out, pretty much the talk with coach Malone," Locke said.
Then it was on to TCU and then a stop by SMU. The Mustangs were the first school to offer and they have been recruiting him since his freshman year. Academics and the efforts they have already made to recruit him have made a strong impression.
The last stop before heading back to Beaumont was a trip to Waco and Baylor University.
"That was the first time being down there since they offered me," Locke said. "It was different. It just felt like home for some reason. I met up with coach (Carlton) Buckels and he was like, 'Do you even need a tour?' because I've been to Baylor a few times. I talked to coach (Brian) Norwood and coach (Beau)Trahan and coach (Art) Briles and all the coaches who were there.
"I went into coach Briles' office and he gave me a big hug and we were just cracking jokes. He was like, 'You need to try on this helmet. As a matter of fact lets go down to the equipment room and get a jersey and try it on.' I tried it on and coach Buckels and coach Trahan and coach Norwood were all in there and they said, 'Man, that looks good on you.' That was the first time I met some of the players up there. We took pictures. It was just a lot of fun. They let me take a picture with the RG3 Heisman. It was great."
Locke does not know where his next trip will be but a trip to the Midwest is in the works.
"We're trying to get out to Northwestern for their junior day or their spring game," Locke said. "Notre Dame contacted me today and told me they want me to be there. In June they're having what they call an Irish Invasion, and he said that's when all the studs come up there. He told me he wanted me to come up there. But I want to go up to Notre Dame for their spring game because he always tells me that there is nothing like a Notre Dame spring game. He was like it's just wild and crazy, and me and my dad have already established we have to make it out there for that. Those are the only two I have right now."
He also is not in a hurry to make a decision, and is not ready to declare any leaders. Right now he is taking in as many opportunities and experiences as he can, and he hopes to narrow his list to five before taking his official visits.
Jason Howell is the Midlands Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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