Growing up on the east side of Baltimore, Prairie View A&M quarterback Jerry Lovelocke maintained a careful eye on his future.
Now the former Edmondson standout is set to participate in the NFL scouting combine, which starts Wednesday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
"I just made sure I stayed out of the streets, and sports was a big advocate for me," Lovelocke said in a telephone interview from Texas. "I didn't want to just be hanging out in the neighborhood. When the hands are idle, the devil will play. I wouldn't say I beat the odds. I would say I never gave up.
"I never felt deterred. I always stayed positive about everything in life. Nothing is perfect. My original plan wasn't to go to a small school. I wanted to go to a big school and be a big name. When that opportunity didn't present itself, I still went to a school where my talent would be seen by someone."
Lovelocke was invited to the combine as a throwing quarterback along with Southeastern Louisiana quarterback Bryan Bennett and East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden, meaning he'll throw passes for other players in drills.
Lovelocke also will take part in all of the testing and interviews and be evaluated by all 32 NFL teams. Atlanta Falcons quarterback T.J. Yates, a fifth-round draft pick of the Houston Texans in 2011, was invited to the combine as a throwing quarterback.
"I'm very excited," Lovelocke said. "I just want to get out there and get it done. I want to get all of those questions answered about whether I can compete with those big-school quarterbacks. It's a really good situation. It's going to be a great experience. I'm just trying to climb the ladder of success."
Lovelocke is a mobile, 6-foot-5, 240-pound four-year starter who passed for 39 touchdowns and 18 interceptions over the past two seasons. He also rushed for 19 touchdowns and played in the Gridiron Showcase all-star game and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
“Big body, big arm and good control,” Gridiron Showcase executive director Jose Jefferson said. “He won a lot of games at Prairie View, and he’s a prototypical height, weight, arm guy for a quarterback. I think Jerry’s going to be the type that gets picked up by a good team and will be able to be groomed and learn from some really good guys.
"And I’m not saying he’s going to be a starter or a backup. But I think he’s going to get to a good team that’s going to teach him a lot of things, and he kind of reminds me of a Jason Campbell type. And if he learns well, he can be a solid pro for many years.”
Lovelocke is known for his arm strength. He averaged 241 passing yards per game over the past two seasons.
"Jerry's got a gun," said Stony Brook University wide receiver Adrian Coxson, a former Maryland player and Baltimore City College player who played with Lovelocke in the Gridiron Showcase game in Texas. "His arm strength is definitely impressive."
Lovelocke enrolled at Prairie View after being offered scholarships by Kent State, Bowling Green, Akron, Toledo and Temple. He played in the Crab Bowl after passing for 4,057 yards and 35 touchdowns in his final two high school seasons.
Lovelocke is scheduled to graduate in May with a major in mass communications and a minor in business administration.
"Prairie View felt a lot more like home, there were a lot of coaches from the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area and they understood me," Lovelocke said. "I had a great time at Prairie View. After my playing career, I would love to open a family restaurant and work with nonprofit organizations."
Lovelocke has talked to the Ravens a few times during the scouting process, including their Southeast area scout Ian Cunningham.
"I've talked to them a couple of times and they've been to my school, Ian is a great guy," Lovelocke said. "It would be really cool to play for the Ravens. We'll see what happens."