Joe Lockley certainly had the accolades of an FBS recruit this season. He was name defensive player of the year for his region, and was an all-state honorable mention for the state of Georgia. He also was a finalist for the Army Iron Man award which recognizes the State’s top two way football players. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a shock that Lockley received interest from some of the top teams in the region.
Those other suitors didn’t back off either. One school in particular from the best conference in college football was not content with letting Lockley slip away uncontested.
“A lot of schools tried real hard to steal me away from the Panthers,” Lockley continued, “Mississippi State was one that tried their best. They wanted me real bad.”
Panther fans may wonder how they are able to count themselves so fortunate to be able to land Lockley. The most common reason for elite prospects to sign with smaller caliber schools is so that they are able to stand out and be an impact player right away. While Joe certainly feels as though he has the talent to do that, he cited other reasons behind his decision.
“The biggest thing that any athlete should look at first when picking a school is their academics. I know that when I complete my degree it will look good for me to graduate from Georgia State,” Lockley said. “The other thing was the coaching staff and Coach Curry. His background with the three super bowls and his great coaching history as well as the history of the rest of the coaching staff was really impressive.”
“Also, I’m from Atlanta so I am coming back home. I just feel like Georgia State gave the best chance to be successful and fulfill all my dreams.”
After considering all of that, it may still be surprising to some that Lockley picked the Panthers despite the product they put on the field this year. Lockley assured us that the exact opposite was true.
“I followed Georgia State the last two years and last year they had a lot of close games. Me and Coach Curry talked about that he said they lost a lot of those games in the fourth quarter,” Lockley said. “That really motivated me because I pride myself on playing my best football in the fourth quarter. Coach Nesmith always taught us to finish strong, so I feel like I can come in and have an impact and help Georgia State push through and win more games late in the game.”
Lockley finished the interview by sending out a message to Panther fans:
“Buckle up your seatbelts. We’re going on a ride. This is going to be a new team this year and we are going to work and they won’t be disappointed. We are going to put Georgia State on the map.”