National Signing Day just got a little bit less dramatic for the Texas Longhorns, but in the best way possible -- the coaching staff secured a Monday evening commitment from Baltimore (Mary.) Gilman quarterback Kai Locksley, who switched his pledge from the Florida State Seminoles:
OFFICIALLY COMMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS!! #HookEm pic.twitter.com/iVhb1qvLDj— Kai Locksley (@LOCKSnLOADED_3) February 3, 2015
Texas head coach Charlie Strong sent out his customary "Let's Ride" tweet minutes later:
Big start to the week! #LetsRide— Charlie Strong (@Strong_TexasFB) February 3, 2015
Originally expected to make his decision on National Signing Day in a 10 a.m. CT ceremony at his high school, Locksley moved up his decision despite the fact that he said earlier Monday that he wouldn't know until Tuesday or Wednesday which school he was going to pick.
One possible reason for Locksley moving up his decision? The staff needed some positive recruiting momentum heading into Wednesday after reports emerged on Monday evening that Plano West running back Soso Jamabo and Gladewater defensive tackle Daylon Mack told the coaching staff that they are no longer considering the Longhorns.
More importantly, the decision by the consensus four-star prospect gives the Longhorns a scholarship quarterback take in the 2015 class by allowing Irving Cistercian quarterback Matthew Merrick to grayshirt, which has been the plan since Merrick committed in late November.
Landing a passer in the class was in peril before Locksley's decision because five-star Texas A&M plege Kyler Murray re-affirmed his commitment to the Aggies late last week, days after former Texas pledge Zach Gentry announced his decommitment from Texas and flip to Michigan.
Locksley tripped to Austin for an official visit on the second-to-last visit weekend of the cycle and was hosted by early enrollee linebacker Malik Jefferson. It was his second time on campus after traveling to Texas in late July to participate in the Under the Lights camp, where he impressed on-lookers.
As a result, there was some thought that the Horns would be his choice when he committed not long after.
The 6'3, 188-pounder is the No. 336 player nationally, the No. 23 athlete, and the No. 6 player in Maryland.
Holding more than 20 offers during his recruitemnt, Locksley is a highly-coveted national recruit. Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin all entered the fray at various points in time.
Though Locksley played wide receiver at the 2015 Under Armour All-America game, he'll play quarterback at Texas. In fact, the coaching staff told him that he'll be able to redshirt behind Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard, which is his preference, so don't look for him to make an early impact.
That's according to one report, at least. After his commitment, he said that it's not his intention to do so.
He may end up redshirting because he's considered something of a raw prospect even though his father is Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley. Splitting time between basketball and football has something to do with that, but he also plays in an offense that runs the ball frequently and doesn't ask much of him in the passing game.
There's nothing wrong with his mechanics and his athleticism could help him see the field early -- he possesses similar speed and agility to Heard, except he's a little bit taller and could eventually hold more weight on his frame than Heard, who was listed at 199 pounds last year.
The key for his development will be his ability to read defenses and make a variety of throws, though he could benefit from a more limited offense that focuses heavily on the quarterback run game and the easy reads provided by using POP passes.
Locksley is the No. 26 pledge in a Texas class that ranks No. 9 nationally and No. 1 in the Big 12, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. The Horns sit one spot ahead of the Aggies.
What now? He'll turn his focus to recruiting the two five-star prospects who were on the official visit with him -- Jamabo and Mack.