Looks Like University Of Illinois - Theodore Lockley


Robert
Jun 23, 2020
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7 Comments

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Your team is recruiting a tiny recruiting class. Should you be A) pleased because they're all so fast or B) scared because they're all so small? I don't really know the answer. I just always go back to the Ron Turner/Andy Katzenmoyer quote at times like this.

That quote, which is just my paraphrase of the actual quote (which I cannot find) goes something like this:

Ron Turner is preparing for his first matchup with Ohio State. The roster handed him by Lou Tepper was.. not good. A reporter asks a question:

"Coach, how do you feel about facing an All-American Linebacker like Andy Katzenmoyer on Saturday?"

"Well, he's bigger than all of our defensive ends and faster than all of our wide receivers".

(It was true. Illinois had no defensive ends who weighed more than 255 lbs and no wide receivers who ran a 4.58 40.)

That's basically football. Aaron Donald is 285 lbs and ridiculously strong yet he can still run like a tailback. Reggie Corbin ran a 4.65 40-yard dash at his pro day; Aaron Donald ran a 4.68 at the Combine. When you're that big and you can move your feet like a tailback, game over. You can run through AND around offensive linemen.

Scale that for basically every position. Calvin Johnson runs a 4.35 at 6'-5", 236 lbs. Ballgame. Orlando Pace could do cartwheels and backflips at 325 lbs. Brian Urlacher is 260 lbs and could run a 4.5. It's all about the combination of size and speed. If speed was all that mattered, every team would take their three fastest cornerbacks and put them at linebacker. They can't because they're not big enough to shed a blocker and make a tackle.

Such is the uphill battle for all Mighty Mouse players. Kyron Cumby will try to overcome being 5'-7" with his 10.28-in-the-100 speed. In college, you can get away with just speed. But in the end, Ohio State and their linebackers who are bigger than your defensive linemen and faster than your wide receivers will pretty much always win.

Theodore Lockley isn't as tiny as Cumby. He's listed at 6'-0", so he's probably 5'-11", 170. He's an ATH recruit, which means CB or WR, and 5'-11" is perfectly fine for CB (and, if really fast, WR). I'm more taking this moment to point out that this class is shaping up as "speed over size". Moffitt and Rosiek are both a bit undersized at linebacker, but they're fast. Daniel Edwards is a bit undersized for a defensive back, but goodness is he fast. Theodore Lockley is yet another track guy known for his speed.

And it's great speed. According to this site, he's closing in on his high school's record in the 100 with the 10.74 he ran this spring before Covid shut down his junior track season. Using that conversion chart I posted a few weeks ago, that's somewhere around 4.45 40-time. That's legit speed.

And it shows up on film as well. I just made one gif for him, but it's a rundown tackle after a fumble on offense. The kid returning the fumble isn't fast, but still, this is some very nice closing speed. Especially since he needs to hit the accelerator a second time after getting blocked:

The issue I have with the film: a lot of it is straight line speed. If I had to guess, that's why his P5 offers were limited to Kansas, Rutgers, and Boston College. 10.74 speed will get just about any school interested, so when you have 10.74 speed and only four P5 offers, the concern is football fluidity. Football recruiting can't just be reduced to track speed. Take the top ten 100m times in the state of Florida last year and I'm guessing maybe only three of those guys play college football. There's a lot more to it than just "runs fast from A to B".

But coaches are allowed to build their rosters however they want - the Andy Katzenmoyers aren't coming to Illinois - and Lovie has leaned on speed at every turn for all four recruiting classes. I feel like I've written this two-dozen times over the last few years, but if there's one theme here, it's that nearly every skill position guy Lovie has recruited is a track athlete. We may be tiny, but we're fast. But also tiny.

Rutgers is at 21 verbals and Kansas has 3 ATH's committed so I'm guessing that's why Lockley's final four schools were Bowling Green, East Carolina, Boston College, and Illinois. With classes filling up quickly during Covid (there are going to be so many decommitments this fall), some guys are probably seeing their opportunities dry up. When a guy is down to those four, you gotta win that one.

Is he a WR? CB? Not sure it matters at this point. Recruit some ATH's and see what you have. Sometimes they have football speed, and that's when things get fun.

Can't go very high on the Tom Cruises, though. Just not sure what he brings besides speed, and his offer list suggests that other schools aren't sure what else he brings. As always, hope I eat my words.

Theodore Lockley - One and one-half Tom Cruises

Comments

IBFan on June 23, 2020 @ 04:06 PM

Man this is becoming a habit, but here it goes.

He has one defensive highlight and that’s because it’s a turnover and that’s your gif?

All the routes he runs, breaking tackles, 50-50 balls, fully extended while running -catching the ball -staying on feet...not to mention all the athleticism he shows at QB breaking tackles - scrambling- and hitting receiver.

I get your down on this class but this I call bs. You probably watched a gif from someone else, didn’t watch anything more than a Hudl highlight if that, and rewrote what someone else said.

Kid is physically strong. Has elite speed, good hands, can be a kick returner, gunner, wideout. He’s not just a track guy. Not only can he break tackles but he can pull away after contact, legit burst and balance. Has the ability to make defenders miss, not the phone booth type, but angles are a strong point. He’s not playing 3a Illinois ball and he can beat safeties to the corner that have 15-20 yards on him...impressive.

IlliniBobLoblaw on June 24, 2020 @ 10:10 AM

Challenging the evaluation is fair game, but questioning Robert's ethic is a bit out of line, IMHO.

IBFan on June 24, 2020 @ 02:56 PM

Wasn’t and ethic shot but I see how that can be taken by how I worded so if so please accept apology. Don’t think the review matches reality and seems like same cliches were being used for a really fast football athlete that also runs track. Werner and some others spewing the “straight line” speed mantra. I guy might need to improve on route running but a player elite fast in the 40 and 100 is not going to be without burst or “quicks”. He doesn’t run a 20 yard out or a post and lose a bunch of speed. Track guys, not football players who also are so fast that can compete in track, have had a tendency in the past to have problems with hands, alligator arms, can’t block, route running, and can’t take a hit. I’m not sure if any of this applies to this Football Athlete except that he can get better in all areas. 7v7 camps he can play with anyone in Florida. I don’t love all the recruits so far and I hope they continue to get better but 1.5?, IMO. As matter of fact, if he stays healthy I’m not sure he doesn’t end up in the SEC.

hoopsfan47 on June 24, 2020 @ 07:26 PM

If you can't get those handful of guys with elite size and speed. along a God-given aggressiveness and football aptitude, then speed guys should be the choice. More importantly, you need guys who have aggressiveness and aptitude. You may not beat OSU, but you can make them sweat and work to beat you.

ppbob on June 25, 2020 @ 03:02 AM

You're so right about distinguishing "track speed" and "football speed", Robert. I remember even in the Moeller years how we had real straight ahead runners who couldn't fake out a DB or be able to cut to get space on a quick out. I remember some real blazers at RB who couldn't break a tackle at the LOS, spin away from a tackle or make a defender miss. On defense we had some burners who couldn't make a tackle to save their souls or break out of a backpeddle. I've also said that without "football smarts" speed doesn't mean much. I'd rather have a safety who runs a 4.7 but knows EXACTLY where to go at the snap than a guy who runs a 4.4 but stands flatfooted for 3 seconds before he knows what to do. I believe Fed was the former and he's an NFL millionaire now and he didn't do it with Olympic speed. Going for speed is fine, but the staff hasn't really done much of a job finding that kind of player, and if you don't have the staff to get the 4*s with speed AND smarts, you better get those Feds on your roster...

Chukwuwumba on June 26, 2020 @ 10:44 AM

I actually prefer speed. Part of it is building video game rosters with faster players having better teams lol. But...I’ll combine a thought from your post and another from Robert. You are definitely right that speed won’t matter if the player lacks instincts/ wrong position. However, these speed players have been incubating for the last few years learning the same defense. Hopefully the speed is kept and instincts/ reactions are learned (if not there already). Offense/defense knows gaps of cover2. Speed will make those windows narrower. Speed will get the player ahead of the block/disrupt the run. The hope is reactions get to a point after 3yrs of practice and then 2 to play.

Chukwuwumba on June 26, 2020 @ 01:22 PM

Also, I remember the St. Louis rams having plenty of speed end of 90s, early 00s. (Lovie) And WV, Mich, Ariz with plenty of speed in RichRod, Rod Smith offenses.

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