Maybe all it took was Jerrod Heard going up to head coach Charlie Strong and asking for a position change to wide receiver to make Texas Longhorns redshirt freshman Kai Locksley do the same.
Well, that and the opportunity to get the ball in his hands as a punt returner in practice recently. At the time, Strong said that the Maryland product was “strictly at quarterback,” but then he said the same thing about Heard right before his move, too.
In any case, according to Horns Digest on Tuesday and The Football Brainiacs on Wednesday, Locksley is now becoming the second former quarterback to drop the black practice jersey and start working at wide receiver for the ‘Horns.
Strong cited his “really good hands” when discussing his ability to return punts and this wouldn’t be the first time that the 6’4, 188-pounder has made that transition — in the 2014 Under Armour All-American game, he spent the week catching passes and flashed in the game itself:
So this is Kai Locksley playing WR against Minkah Fitzpatrick (starting Bama CB, Freshman All-SEC) pic.twitter.com/QLHB6rsAkM— Ryan Bridges (@RyanBridgesCFB) August 11, 2016
Look at the long strides as Locksley makes running past one of the nation’s top prospects in the 2014 class in Minkah Fitzpatrick, who profiles as the type of player headed for a long and successful NFL career.
Look at the ability to track the football and then adjust his body in the complete opposite correction to pull in the pass.
That’s a natural right there.
As a sophomore in high school, Locksley worked at the position before transitioning to quarterback for his final two seasons and he was regarded as an athlete coming out of high school by most of the recruiting services (only Scout ranked him as a quarterback), so none of this is particularly surprising.
As a senior, his total rushing yards exceeded his total passing yards.
Like Heard, Locksley’s path to playing time is much quicker at the wide receiver position -- he’s buried on the depth chart and may not be ahead of fellow freshman Matthew Merrick at the moment, with the early enrollment of local product Sam Ehlinger looming only months away.
There was still time for Locksley to make a decision about his future and he could always return to quarterback if there are injuries, etc., but this is a move that puts him in position to get on the field this fall and adds yet another tall, fast inside receiver to Sterlin Gilbert’s offense.
And so it’s all athletes on deck for the Longhorns quarterbacks. What’s left of them, anyway.