You've all heard the bad news by now: Kai Locksley, four-star local quarterback and son of Maryland's offensive coordinator, elected to join a three-quarterback class at Florida State over staying with the hometown Terps. This is not, in fact, the end of the world, or cause to doubt Mike Locksley's considerable recruiting acumen. He's still one of the top recruiters in the Big Ten, and we'll wait until Signing Day to pass full judgment on this class.
Before we get started on this, one note: this is unequivocally bad news. In this post, I will attempt to argue it's not as bad as you might think, but do not mistake that for saying it is not bad.
Kai Locksley is good, but he's not an excellent quarterback prospect
He's a four-star athlete, not a four-star quarterback, and would likely end up moving positions at Florida State. In terms of ratings and rankings, he's not far off from where current Maryland quarterbacks Shane Cockerille and Will Ulmer were ranked coming out of high school, and fits the Ulmer profile pretty well.
We've talked about this before, but 2015 is a relatively weak local crop of recruits. Locksley, rated as the fourth-best player in the state this class, would be ranked as the 12th-best player in the state if he were in the class of 2016.
Maryland has depth at QB
C.J. Brown is around for one more season, with Caleb Rowe as the heir apparent after that. The Terps have two young and very talented players at the position in Cockerille and Ulmer, however, and Cockerille continues to show vast improvements in his game. Throw in 2015 commit Gage Shaffer, a project with an unlimited ceiling, and Maryland's future at the position looks just fine, thanks.
There are other, more important fish in the sea
Some good news to wash it down
Some good news to wash it down
Locksley's name was brought up a disproportionate amount due to his last name, but Maryland has bigger targets on their board in the class of 2015. Offensive tackle Isaiah Prince and cornerback Marcus Lewis are higher-rated local targets considering the Terps, not to mention blue-chip Florida prospects Byron Cowart, Ryan Davis and George Campbell. With a quarterback commit already in hand in Shaffer, Maryland's focus has shifted to other positions -- namely defensive tackle and safety, where Austrian Robinson and Jay Stocker are emerging as the staff's top targets.
Florida State now has three quarterback commits
That's....a lot! It's hard to imagine all three of them sticking around (although Jimbo Fisher is likely a deity of some sort), and Locksley, as the only non-Floridian of the bunch, may be the one who decides to go elsewhere (especially if he's told he won't play quarterback). That being said...
We do not know the father-son dynamics at play here
There's always concerns around father-son relationships in sports, especially when it's coach/quarterback. Rumors floated around of both Locksleys being concerned that there could be a perception that he was simply given a starting job without earning it, and Maryland fans could have potentially been equally concerned of that happening.
Allow me to bore you with a personal anecdote. I ended up close to home, choosing Maryland over Elon (in a Signing Day flip!) for a variety of reasons (namely, proximity to home and the journalism program). I very much wanted to stay around my parents, but if one of them was assistant dean of the journalism school? You can bet I'd have gone to Elon instead.
This could help with the 2016 class
As we noted above, Maryland's got a bit of a crowd at the quarterback position, and there's a potential five-star quarterback prospect in 2016 by the name of Dwayne Haskins. He's rumored to be favoring Ohio State, but the Terps are in the picture and Maryland could attempt to sell this decision in his favor.
That being said...
It's not good news by any stretch of the imagination. Locksley would have solidifed the quarterback position in the class, giving Maryland someone who could compete for playing time right away (for better or for worse). The local 2015 class may be down by usual standards, but Maryland hasn't been able to land the few blue-chippers in the area. They're going to have lock up someone like Prince or Quarvez Boulware soon to provide the top-end boost this class needs.
It's worse from a PR perspective than a football perspective -- Maryland will have to battle the narrative of " they can't even land the coach's son," but the loss of Locksley doesn't hurt the on-field product as considerably as you might feel.