Mike Locksley's latest recruiting pitch: Get Terps fans out to the spring game

Chris Lingebach
April 26, 2019 - 5:08 pm
Mike Locksley's latest recruiting pitch: Get fans out to the spring game

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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Mike Locksley looks to show off a reinvigorated Maryland football program with the annual red and white spring game Saturday.

Maryland's spring game kicks off at noon at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, and the game coincides with Maryland Day, a legal holiday in the state. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a #LOCKedIn t-shirt, and the first 2,000 in attendance will receive the official spring game poster.

"It's Maryland Day," Locksley told 106.7 The Fan's Chad Dukes. "Which in the past when I was here before, we would play our red and white game on Maryland Day, which is basically an open house for campus to show the community all the great things that's going on on our campus."

"So we included the spring game in it and we also have our top two lacrosse teams are playing, our men's and women's lacrosse teams, which are both ranked No. 2 in the country," he said. "(They're) playing Johns Hopkins at 4:30 and 7:30."

Thursday was a busy night for the first-year Maryland coach, watching the first round of the NFL Draft for where his former Alabama players were going and Maryland safety Darnell Savage. Between Savage going to the Packers 21st overall and receiver D.J. Moore going to Carolina 24th overall in 2018, Maryland has sent first-round picks to the NFL in consecutive years, a feather in Locksley's recruiting cap.

"It was just three years ago I was here at Maryland," Locksley said of making an easy transition from Alabama. "I finished up here in 2015 before I headed to Alabama. We had some success yesterday as well with Darnell Savage getting drafted in the first round, so he gave us the first time of having back-to-back first-round draft picks at Maryland since Shawne Merriman and Vernon Davis did it back in '05 and '06."

It doesn't hurt that potential Maryland recruits can still see Davis, now 35, still enjoying a successful NFL career just up the road at FedEx Field. With his D.C. roots all his life, Locksley already has a natural 'in' on the local recruiting scene, which he says helps make his pitches more genuine.

"I think the big thing is being very transparent and honest," he told Dukes. "And one of the things that I think helps me is that I walked in the same classrooms as a lot of these kids that I'm recruiting, especially in this area. You know, I went to Ballou High School over in the southeast section, I grew up literally five minutes from here in the King Greenleaf section of southwest, right down there where Nats (Park) now sits.

"And so I'm very familiar with the things and the struggles, and I was able to use the game of football to change the lineage of my family basically. So when I sit in a lot of these homes, and especially here in the DMV, I can speak from experience how strong the game of football can be for you as well as a really strong education paired with it, so a great example to be able to use to help try to lure some kids to come play for me."

Locksley characterizes himself as a "diehard" Redskins fan, and was surprised to see the Giants draft Duke QB Daniel Jones as high as they did at six, leaving Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins to fall to the Redskins at 15.

"I was a little surprised," Locksley said. "But happy, because I'm a diehard Redskin. I grew up here. I was a Bullet fan before they were Wizards, a Redskins fan, now we've got the Nats. I mean, I'm a hometown homer."

"When I talk about Maryland being the dream job for me, I mean I literally would roam the parking lots of Cole Field House as a kid growing up in this area," he said. "We would be scalping tickets of course, finding ways to get into the game. I grew up loving the Terps and to have the opportunity to lead the program has just been a dream come true for me."

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