Mike Farrell, the national recruiting director for Rivals.com, believes that Maryland has a chance to bring four-star recruit Kai Locksley to College Park in 2015.
But Farrell said the negatives might outweigh the positives in terms of the way Terps coach Randy Edsall is trying to build his program and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, Kai’s father, does his job.
The younger Locksley recently listed Maryland among the six schools he’s considering. That list likely grew by one when Kai Locksley received an offer from Alabama on a visit this week to Tuscaloosa.
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Though Farrell said before the Alabama offer came in that Maryland getting the state’s top-rated player is “as long a shot as it used to be,” he is not sure if Mike Locksley “wants to coach his son, because it usually doesn’t work out very well.”
Farrell thinks that Kai Locksley is leaning more toward Florida State, which he also visited this week, as well as Ohio State. Getting the offer from the Crimson Tide, where former Gilman star Cyrus Jones will be a redshirt sophomore, probably pushed the Terps down a rung.
“It’s a tough situation,” Farrell said. “Maryland fans want Kai Locksley. They think, ‘He’s a Gilman kid, an in-state kid, this should be a slam dunk. His dad is on the staff.’ They don’t understand the dynamics and they don’t care.
“And to some extent Randy has to want Kai Locksley and doesn’t care [about family dynamics]. But he [Edsall] is also smart enough to know this, not only the family dynamic but also the perception it sends to [high school] quarterbacks next year and the year after that.”
As a result, Farrell said, Maryland might not be recruiting Locksley as hard as it would if he were not the son of the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“I don’t think they’re putting the full-court press on him,” Farrell said. “ I think they’re saying, ‘If you want to come here, we’d love to have you and we’ll work around all the issues.’
“I don’t think it’s every day, ‘Are you coming, are you coming, are you coming? It’s not an an Eddie Goldman, Damian Prince, Ronald Darby, Stefon Diggs ‘we’ve got to have you. You’re so important to what we need to do in-state.”
Farrell said that other schools are likely using the recruiting of Kai Locksley against the Terps when it comes to other quarterbacks.
“They’re [other quarterbacks] all going to assume or be told by other schools that ‘you’re never going to play, how are you going to play? His son is [going to be] the quarterback,'" Farrell said.
Farrell said that if Kai Locksley ultimately chooses the Terps, it’s going to be added pressure on his father.
“If he doesn’t pan out, you put yourself in a bad position,” Farrell said. “I think it’s very hard to bench your son, it’s very hard to pull your son from a game, it’s very hard to coach your son if he’s third-string, it’s very hard to redshirt your son.”
Knowing that possibility exists, Farrell said, ‘I think the kid is looking around at other schools just to avoid that situation.”
Another uncomfortable situation could be if Kai Locksley becomes the starting quarterback for Ohio State, which will play the Terps every year once they join the Big Ten.
“Kai’s a really smart, a really nice kid,” Farrell said. “I think he would ask his dad, ‘If I went to Ohio State, and we’d have to play against you guys, would that be an issue?
“And I know his dad would say, ‘No, you’ve got to do what’s best for you.’ I don’t think he’s avoiding the Big Ten, but I do think the perfect situation for him would be no ties at all. “
A potential conflict at Maryland is also the fact that Locksley would likely be competing with former Gilman teammate Shane Cockerille for the starting job in 2015.
“I know they’re friends and all that, but once you get to college, if you have to compete, you compete,” Farrell said. “But would Shane think Kai got the job because of his dad? Maybe.”
Farrell said Florida State and Ohio State have shown that “they have shown they can coach up his type of skill set. He can move around a Braxton Miller.” Farrell said Locksley is better than Cockerille at a similar stage.
“He’s working on the passing aspect of things,” Farrell said. “Accuracy is an issue, mechanics are an issue. He’s so athletic and he can get away from things. He throws better on the run than in the pocket.
“He’s so athletic that the first read is not there, he can tuck it and run and do whatever he wants. He’s very successful doing that. He’s not a finished product by any means.”