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Texas finds its QB, flips Kai Locksley from Florida State

2/2/2015
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Recruiting video for dual-threat-quarterback, Kai Locksley

Recruiting video for Kai Locksley dual-threat-quarterback from Gilman School in Baltimore, MD

Charlie Strong had nearly everything he needed for his first full recruiting class at Texas. But he was missing a quarterback. Not anymore.

Two days before he was expected to decide, Kai Locksley called Strong to deliver the good news. The ESPN 300 athlete flipped from Florida State to Texas on Monday.

"He was ecstatic," Locksley said. "He was like, 'You're joking around. Why'd you make me wait this long? Been trying to get you to say that for two weeks. Why you playing around?' He was happy to have that main piece in his recruiting class."

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound athlete from Baltimore's Gilman School delivered his pledge Monday afternoon, ending a six-month commitment to the Seminoles. He'd been planning this move ever since an official visit to Austin for the Jan. 23 weekend. After hosting final in-home visits with both coaching staffs, he knew he was ready.

"My feelings stayed the same, and I was ready to let everybody know so I can always help recruit some of the other guys they're trying to get in this class," Locksley said.

Specifically? Locksley is looking forward to reaching out to two fellow Under Armour All-Americans, five-star Daylon Mack and ESPN 300 running back Soso Jamabo, before signing day.

"Gotta get Big Mack and Mr. Jamabo, Mr. ITT Tech," Locksley said.

Locksley, the son of Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, admitted he's compelled by Texas' quarterback situation and the opportunity to compete for playing time immediately. The Longhorns have just two scholarship quarterbacks on campus in Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard, and after striking out with Kyler Murray and losing Zach Gentry to Michigan, Locksley became a must-get for Strong and his staff.

Locksley committed to Florida State in July as one of the Seminoles' three QB pledges, but Strong promised he wouldn't stop recruiting him. He never promised Locksley a starting job; just a chance to come in and prove he's a leader.

"That's one of their main priorities, finding a guy who can come in and compete for the starting job," Locksley said. "They're recruiting me to potentially be that starting guy. I think I have the ability to do so and really turn the program around and be that key piece to a great class.

"They need a guy who can come in and bring some juice and bring some competitive nature to the field and be a leader. Those are all things I love to do and love to display on the field."

He said Strong and co-offensive coordinators Shawn Watson and Joe Wickline laid out their vision of a more up-tempo Texas offense in 2015 -- similar schemes and concepts, just faster and more efficient. That plan fits Locksley, who threw for 1,050 yards and rushed for 915 with 22 total touchdowns as a senior at Gilman.

Locksley is the 26th member of Texas' No. 9-ranked class, a group that now features pledges from 12 ESPN 300 prospects. The Horns also have a commitment from Irving, Texas, quarterback Matthew Merrick, who's currently slated to grayshirt and enroll in 2016.

Locksley wants to make one thing clear about what comes next: He's not looking to redshirt this fall. "Absolutely not," he added. "That's not my intention." That perception during his recruitment -- that he'd prefer to sit and learn wherever he went -- was a part of this process he found baffling.

He can't wait to compete. He knows the starting job at Texas is up for grabs.

"Their coaches envision that if I come in, work hard, keep my head down, listen and get acclimated to the offense and the system, they definitely think I have all the potential in the world to be that guy," he said.