With your father being a collegiate football coach, you would think that football would be in your bloodlines. That is definitely for the case for Gilman junior quarterback Kai Locksley.
The son of Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley is beginning his first year as the starting signal caller for Gilman. Locksley may not play quarterback at the next level but after watching Friday’s game between Gilman and Good Counsel, the case can be made that he could.
At first glance of the younger Locksley, you notice that he has tremendous size (6’4/200 lb.). The first thing that comes to mind is that he will be able to survey the field without much difficulty. Smaller quarterbacks obviously have been successful in the NFL but they are few and far between.
Locksley is a dual-threat quarterback so you know that he has the ability to take off at a moment’s notice. But his speed is truly remarkable. In the first quarter of Friday’s game against Good Counsel, Locksley ran a read option type of play and immediately took off and cut up-field for an 18-yard gain.
When running with the football, he makes it look effortless and also isn’t afraid to be tackled to the ground. On the very next play, he ran the ball again and showed great vision as he found holes throughout the Falcon defense. With 5:35 remaining in the first quarter and Gilam facing a third-and-goal, Locksley stepped back into the shotgun and faked the hand-off to Jelani Roberts and knifed his way into the end zone with a nice use of his shoulder at the goal line.
Even with facing the blitz, Locksley remains calm and can scurry his way out of any situation. With 5:56 remaining in the third quarter and facing a 2nd-and-nine, Locksley was being rushed by two Good Counsel defenders and was able to run out of trouble with some nifty moves for a 15-yard gain.
While being quick as most dual-threat quarterbacks are, Locksley also is very strong. On runs to the outside, Locksley frequently uses the stiff arm to gain a few extra yards. He can also plow over defenders in the open field due to his huge frame.
While Locksley can really work his magic while running, he can also be very lethal through the air. When given time in the pocket, Locksley can throw a very catchable ball. He can also throw the deep ball pretty well. With 47 seconds remaining in the first half, Locksley had a receiver wide open but the receiver dropped the ball. That would’ve given Gilman the football inside the 10-yard line.
When he has time to throw, Locksley can toss the pigskin with great precision. For example, with 4:51 remaining in the third quarter and Gilam facing a 3rd-and-eight near midfield, Locksley hung tight in the pocket and found wide receiver Robert Branch for the first down conversion which was good for 20 yards. In doing so, Locksley hit the ball into a tight spot as Branch was surrounded by three Falcon defenders. One of his best attributes is his ability to put the ball in great spots. On several ocassions on Friday evening, Locksley only threw the ball where his receiver could catch it. He wasn’t at risk for many turnovers, which is great to see in a young signal caller.
Overall, I was incredibly impressed with the performance of Locksley throughout the game. Considering this was his first start at quarterback, the Gilman quarterback showed tremendous poise and definitely wasn’t afraid of the big moments. When he was in trouble, he used his legs to get out of those difficult situations. Locksley read the blitz well and seemed to have a grasp of the offense.
Locksley also had a much better arm than I realized. The younger Locksley can sling it downfield with absolute precision on a moment’s notice. If it weren’t for a few key drops by Gilman wide receivers, Locksley’s numbers could have been even stronger and Gilman may have won by a larger margin.
With offers from Florida State, Michigan State, and Maryland, Locksley is clearly being highly recruited to play football at the next level. As I said earlier, he may not play quarterback in college but definitely has the athletic ability to. Locksley played wide receiver earlier in his high school career, so I would think that would be his position if he doesn’t play quarterback. Obviously, I don’t expect him to just commit to the Terps because he is Mike Locksley’s son. However, I do think that with Maryland’s recent recruiting surge, they do have a decent chance to land him when he’s ready to commit.