When Mike Locksley was hired as Maryland’s next football coach, there was immediate speculation that he would try to flip DMV recruits, including those he guided to Alabama, to Maryland. But in an interview with AL.com’s John Talty, Locksley explained why he refused to do so.
According to Talty, Locksley said he thought the right thing to do was try to leave them alone instead of trying to sway their decision. This is a different approach than current Georgia head coach Kirby Smart took after leaving Alabama in 2015, as he told players who were interested in the Crimson Tide that they weren’t on the team’s recruiting big board.
“To me from an ethical standpoint, I’ve recruited some of these guys and if I didn’t have a chance to recruit them for Maryland ... it’s kind of hard to go from telling a kid Alabama is the best thing to hey, now Maryland is the best thing,” Locksley said. “I thought it was the right thing to do.”
But it wasn’t just local recruits Locksley did this for. Even though he was helping recruit for Maryland, Locksley still helped Nick Saban seal the deal with IMG Academy five-star prospects Trey Sanders and Evan Neal. Locksley said he still thought Alabama was the best place for them, despite his new job.
“Some of the guys that were signed at Alabama I was the lead recruiter on and I think maybe the credibility of me saying I don’t have a dog in the fight now, I’m going to Maryland but I’m telling you Alabama is still the best situation for you,” he said. “Look what Alabama did for me as a coach so imagine what it could do for you as a player.”
Even though Alabama’s four DMV recruits all signed early, Locksley’s first three commits at Maryland are all local, including two flips. Isaiah Hazel and Malik Jackson flipped from West Virginia and UConn, respectively, and Good Counsel offensive lineman Mason Lunsford signed with the Terps during the early period.
Locksley fully takes over in four days, and will immediately look to start filling out a sparse 2019 recruiting class that currently includes just six signees.
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