Tide offer ‘breathtaking' for Lockhart

James Lockhart is one of the top defensive linemen in the class of 2015, with considerable offers to his name, but his recruitment hit another level on Wednesday as Alabama joined the race for his services. The four-star shares his thoughts on his latest offer and more inside.

James Lockhart heard he had been offered by Alabama on Tuesday, but hadn't heard it from a Crimson Tide coach. That changed on Wednesday.

"I talked to Nick Saban today," he said. "He was the one who actually said, ‘were going to offer you a scholarship.'

"It's a really big offer. It was a little surprising, I would talk to them every so often, it would be brief, and then I figured out they started to get real interested when they visited the school. It was new for me."

After Saban broke the news to the four-star defensive end out of Ennis (Tex.) High, the junior was taken back.

"It was honestly breathtaking; I was just taking it all in at once," Lockhart said. "It goes for any position, if you get an offer from the University of Alabama, that's just a blessing and an honor. They told me, before this, that they only offer five-stars or people that they know have potential at the collegiate level.

"Knowing all that, and talking to Nick Saban today was just a blessing."

The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder admits the offer immediately shuffles his list, but he's not rushing to a final decision anytime soon.

"I don't have any plans to commit soon, to them or any school," he said. "I'm just taking things one day at a time. I have to talk to my family more about it.

"I was just really happy to get the offer."

Saban feels that Lockhart brings versatility to a collegiate front-seven.

"He said I have a really quick off the ball skill, I can move around a little bit, I play with good pad-level and I'm pretty physical," he said. "As far as speed, I'm no Jadaveon Clowney, but my size and all is decent and I run a 4.72 (40-yard dash). I am pretty quick, not trying to sound cocky, but I'm quick for my size and physical.

"At my high school, I'm the strongest person on the team and I went to state in weight lifting as a sophomore."

Lockhart is the top defensive end in Texas

Should he sign with Alabama in nearly one calendar year, one would potentially be able to see Lockhart as a stand-up edge defender or traditional defensive end in Tuscaloosa.

"They're recruiting me as a JACK linebacker, they run both a 4-3 and a 3-4 defense," he said. "Any time they decide to go to the 4-3, I'm put my hand in the dirt, but primarily I'll be a 3-4 JACK linebacker. I'll cover at times and at other times I'll come off the edge.

"I do play in a two-point stance, depending on what situation it is. Sometimes I play in a three-point stance, but I've never really covered anybody. We play in the flats, but other than that, I don't really cover."

In the grand scheme of the recruiting process, which has schools like Texas, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, TCU, Oklahoma and others on the growing list, one of the Lone Star State's best has plenty to consider before even narrowing things down.

"They are the number one school on my list, but me going there is something I really have to talk about with my family," Lockhart said. "One, it's out of state, I'm not 100 percent sure I want to go out of state, I've thought about it, I'll admit that. They signed the number two defensive end in the nation in this class (Da'Shawn Hand) and they have the number four guy in my grade committed there, too (Mekhi Brown).

" If I go there, will I get the chance to play? I just have to talk about it with my family, and on top of that I have to go visit. They wanted me to go to the junior day this weekend, but I can't make it. I'm going to have to reschedule, they say I can go there any time. I do plan on visiting there. I need to take a lot more out-of-state visits this spring and summer, I need to see where my options are."

A narrowed list should be expected before the summertime, according to the No. 15 defensive end prospect in the class on Scout.com.

"I'm just trying to see all my options and see what school fits me best," he said. "Which one has more pros than cons? I am looking to have a decision by two-a-days, but if I don't I'll just hold off in August.

"I do plan on having a top five or top ten after spring football this year. In about a month and a half, two months, I'll have that top group."

Lockhart is currently pegged as the No. 79 prospect in America, regardless of position.

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