Locke talks Top 10 and visits

Beaumont (Tex.) Central defensive back James Locke III discusses his newly released Top 10 and what stood out to him during his time on the west coast last week during visits to Oregon, Stanford and UCLA.

James Locke said he feels like a weight has been lifted off of his shoulders.

On Monday afternoon, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Beaumont (Tex.) Central defensive back released his Top 10 in alphabetical order on Twitter. Arizona State, Baylor, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Penn State, Stanford, TCU, UCLA and Wake Forest all made the cut for the three-star prospect, who intends on making a decision prior to the start of his senior season.

"That's the initial plan is to commit before the football season," he said. "The thing is about all those schools is that there is no bad choice. It's just where am I happy with?"

Locke had a few factors that went into trimming his list down.

"What I based it off of was location, playing time and also how much I communicated with the coaches and how good the relationship was," Locke said. "I felt like those schools that I picked, I had the most relationship with."

Locke intends to visit each of these schools over the summer, but if he doesn't feel like he's ready to commit he could push his decision date back and take official visits during the first half of the football season.

There will be a lot to digest in the coming weeks should Locke make all of his intended visits. Given his close relationship with his own father, one factor that will likely stand out above the rest will be finding a secondary father figure at the school he chooses.

"I have a great relationship with all of the schools in my Top 10," Locke said. "I feel like I can play early and I feel like I can talk to each coach about anything at each one of those schools."

He's already seen four programs in the past week after taking some time to visit schools on the west coast. Oregon was his first stop. Despite the flashy uniforms and Nike connections that the Ducks have become known for, it was the coaching staff that had a significant impact on Locke during the visit.

"It was a family oriented place and atmosphere," he said. "As soon as I went up there all the coaches were all over me so it was great. We had lunch together and I stayed up there for about five or six hours just talking with the coaches. I met Ifo [Ekpre-Olomu] and had a great talk with him. Oregon is up there. They're high on my list."

Locke also spoke highly of his relationship with secondary coach John Neal, citing it as the main factor that landed Oregon in his Top 10 on Monday.

"I feel like I know a lot about Coach Neal," Locke said. "I went there to visit and felt like he was a second father. Everything he teaches with technique, I'm right on the ball with...When I asked him how he teaches DB's to play man coverage, he showed me and it was the exact thing that I was taught. That's real big on my part just because I have an advantage with that."

After Oregon, Locke visited Stanford and had a similar experience to his time in Eugene.

"You can't complain with a Stanford degree," he said. "That's just something you have to take in. The facilities were great. The coaching staff was also great. I feel like I got the same exact vibe [as Oregon], that's the funny part about it."

At UCLA, Locke continued to develop his close bond with defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin and talked with head coach Jim Mora, himself a former defensive backs specialist. Following the conclusion of the visit, Locke believes the Bruins could be a title contender very soon.

"I feel like UCLA is an underdog team," Locke said. "I feel like they're going to come up. If not this year, I feel like one of these years they'll be playing for a National Championship. I have to take that into consideration. The coaches told me I have a chance to come in, compete and play early."

Locke also briefly visited TCU on his way home from the west coast swing, commenting that the trip went "great".

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