Growing up in East Baltimore, Prairie View A&M quarterback Jerry Lovelocke stayed ambitious and stayed out of trouble.
In the wake of unrest in the city following the death of Freddie Gray, Lovelocke said his pending free agent contract with the Ravens could serve as an example for Baltimore youth.
The Edmondson graduate was among a group of undrafted players who quickly reached deals with the Ravens following the NFL draft. The Ravens will begin a two-day rookie minicamp Friday.
"I feel as if I'm an example that kids from Baltimore can actually make it big, whether they want to be a football player, the president or a doctor by doing things that's not the social norm, by concentrating on sports and school," Lovelocke said in a telephone interview. "This kid right here made it, and he grew up right where you grew up. I just made sure I stayed out of the streets, and sports were a big advocate for me. I didn't want to just be hanging out. When the hands are idle, the devil will play. I wouldn't say I beat the odds. I would say I never gave up."
Lovelocke — who passed for 4,057 yards and 34 touchdowns in his final two high school seasons — enrolled at Prairie View after being offered scholarships by Kent State, Bowling Green, Akron, Toledo and Temple. He will graduate from college this month with a major in mass communications and a minor in business administration.
"I never felt deterred," Lovelocke said. "I always stayed positive. 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 the lone quarterback invited to the Ravens' local prospect day and impressed team officials with his arm strength and accuracy.
Lovelocke also participated in the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins' local prospect days. He is a mobile, 6-foot-5, 240-pound four-year college 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.
"Everybody knew that [St. Louis Rams wide receiver] Tavon Austin would make it to the NFL, even back in little league," Lovelocke said. "When you see someone like him accomplish that, it makes you set goals. It makes you feel like everybody can make it if they work hard enough."
He 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's a prototypical height, weight, arm guy for a quarterback. He kind of reminds me of a Jason Campbell type. If he learns well, he can be a solid pro for many years."
Lovelocke met Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco during a football camp at Edmondson organized by former NFL offensive lineman Jason Murphy. Now, he'll be sharing a meeting room with the Super Bowl XLVII Most Valuable Player.
"I'm so excited right now that I'm trying to level off," Lovelocke said. "I can't believe I'm going to be teammates with Joe Flacco. They're getting a young, tenacious guy who wants to win. It's very cool. When I met Joe, I thought that I'm actually his size and height and maybe I could actually be like him one day."