Terry Lockett brings family-man mindset to SU as 1st Class of 2021 commit

first_imgEven in a socially distanced world, Terry Lockett got to celebrate his commitment with exactly who he’d always wanted: his mother and two sisters. “It was an emotional moment because, finally, after all the work I put in and all the support my family has given to me, it finally paid off,” Lockett said. In his tweet announcing his verbal commitment to Syracuse, Lockett wrote that his decision brings him one step closer to doing good on the “promise” to take care of his mom and sisters. Lockett’s mother cried as his phone blew up with notifications, and he hugged her and his two sisters in their Springfield, Massachusetts home.Lockett, a 6-foot-2, 265-pound 3-star defensive tackle, became the first commit of the Orange’s 2021 class last Sunday. He weighed offers from Michigan, Buffalo and UMass before calling his older cousin, Shawn, and first football coach, Bill Watson, to inform them he’d decided on SU, he said. Lockett grew up without a father, and his mother worked in the insurance industry to pay the bills. He’s always turned to Shawn and Watson for life advice. The No. 42 defensive tackle in his class will be joining the team that calls itself “La Familia,” an all-too-fitting mantra for Lockett, who has already started recruiting more prospects on social media.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I’m just thankful to start the process at Syracuse, and hopefully other people will come along and join the family, because this is something special that Syracuse is building,” Lockett said. Watson’s coached Lockett since he was eight years old. The current Springfield Central (Massachusetts) High School offensive coordinator described Lockett as a kid who’s always been polite and respectful, the type of person he’d want his daughter to bring home. Ever since Lockett began to tower over his classmates as a pre-teen, hit home runs in little league and dominate each sport he played, Watson’s been on the sidelines or in the stands. “He looked like Gargamel,” Watson said in reference to the antagonistic cartoon character. “Everybody else looked like smurfs around him.” But between seventh and eighth grade, Lockett questioned whether he wanted to continue playing football altogether. The game that had always come so easily to him started to get tougher as he began to play against kids his size. He stayed home one day while his team practiced, but Watson rushed over to Lockett’s house. “I just kind of let him know that he’s got too much riding,” Watson said. “This is a life-changing thing you’re doing here, I’m not going to let you give all that up unless you got a good reason for it.” That instance was just a blip, and Watson said Lockett fell in love with football in eighth grade. Before that, he played football because it came easily to him and a football scholarship would take the “stress off my mother’s shoulders,” Lockett said. Courtesy of Terry LockettWatson doesn’t remember exactly how big Lockett was when they met, but now the defensive lineman’s measurables fit right into Syracuse’s current personnel, even as a high school junior. Lockett weighs more than six of SU’s 12 rostered defensive linemen. Of the five scholarship D-linemen heavier than him, two — McKinley Williams and Josh Black — will be gone, barring injury, by the time Lockett steps on campus.A day after committing to Syracuse, Lockett and Shawn — who plays in the Arena Football League — watched three hours of film. “Lost track of time,” Shawn said. New defensive coordinator Tony White told Lockett a little about the Orange’s 3-3-5 defensive scheme on a congratulatory phone call, but he wanted to learn more. “I feel like (the 3-3-5) defense is so unique because it allows the front D-linemen to play everywhere on the defensive line and be able to make plays in different spots, just be creative and be disruptive up front,” Lockett said.With three defenders on the line, there’s an added emphasis on versatility. Lockett said that’ll be no problem for him, as he’s played tackle, defensive end and nose guard in high school. In February, Lockett, his mother and Shawn made the roughly three-hour, straight-shot drive down I-90 for Syracuse’s junior day. Shawn remembers how SU’s current players gravitated toward Lockett and how the Orange coaching staff treated their family with respect. One of the main reasons Lockett liked SU was because he felt the coaches valued him as a person rather than just a football player. When Lockett became SU’s first 2021 commit almost two months later, though, it worried Watson at first. He wanted to know Lockett was absolutely sure about the decision. Lockett said his recruitment’s closed, and he won’t be making any more visits. “Terry is a loyal person — loyal in that he doesn’t let anybody in the circle,” Watson said. “He doesn’t let a lot of people close to him, but if you’re close to him, he’s going to treat you like family. For him to commit to Syracuse, to me, what that means is that’s his family now.” Now, Lockett enters his senior year at Springfield Central coming off two straight Division III state championships. In 12 games in his junior year, Lockett recorded five tackles per game and five total sacks, both stats he seeks to improve on his way to a third state title. And every day, he remembers his promise. “As a man,” Lockett said, “I want to be there for the three women in my life that sacrificed a lot and put time and effort into me and believed in my dreams when I didn’t even believe in myself.” Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on March 25, 2020 at 9:18 pm Contact Danny: [email protected] | @DannyEmermanlast_img