BALTIMORE, Md. -- At 8-1 and ranked No. 1 in the area and Top 20 nationally, head coach Biff Poggi's Gilman Greyhounds program was a good place to start this weekend's prep coverage for reaction to Mike Locksley's ascension to interim head coach of the Terrapins. And what a possible Locksley regime could mean to the program and area.
It may all start Oct. 24 when the Terps tangle with Penn State and former Terp James Franklin at 3:30 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium at Baltimore, in a tilt with huge implications for the Terrapin program and beyond.
Poggi's Greyhounds handled FCA of Washington, D.C., 41-0, on Oct. 23, as they tune up for their 100th anniversary game with McDonogh in two weeks, a game with a huge build-up the last few years and one that is expected to draw some 15,000 fans at McDonogh.
Following the game this week, a game James Franklin and a PSU assistant attended for the first half, Poggi, the godfather of Baltimore prep football, didn't mince words about the "Locksley factor" and what it could bring to a floundering program like Maryland.
"The key to that job is we've got to keep the Maryland talent here," Poggi said. "There was an ESPN graphic up recently about 15 kids that are from Maryland and playing and starting at Power Five conferences. My son [Henry Poggi at Michigan], Jalen Tabor [Florida], Cyrus Jones [Alabama]...I mean, the list is unbelievable," Poggi said, rolling his eyes in disbelief. "And if anybody can put a fence around Maryland in recruiting, it's Mike Locksley."
Poggi explained that when it all boils down, "it's not about the coaching, really, it's about recruiting, relationships, And Mike can recruit the snow off of a snowman. And he is really, really well-respected by high school coaches in Maryland. And that's the key, as it is all about relationships around here."
Poggi went on to relate the deep ties he has to the family as well, given Locksley's son Kai quarterbacked Gilman for a few years, and that Mike Locksley was without peer as a player-parent and how he handled things from both sides.
"I am a huge fan of that family. I coached Mike's family. That is a really good family. And man, I will tell you, if they bring someone else in from out of town it is going to take years to make relationships, even if they can. So the thing is, there are great players in Maryland, so the thing is is to hire Mike, have Mike bring in really good coordinators, and Maryland would have a great football team."
Poggi said it begins with Locksley being a DMV guy himself, "and Maryland, Northern Virginia, Delaware, it's a very paternalistic, it's an inside thing. And Mike is one of those guys, he is one of us. So when Mike comes and talks to you about his program, he has been in your school, he's recruited your kid, he has recruited you as a coach.
"And the other thing about Mike, when he says he is going to do something....like you send Mike a kid and he says I am going to look after this kid, make sure he is okay, Mike is going to call him, be all over him," Poggi added.
Poggi said the Terps, given changing leagues and all their injuries in recent years, has made it a tough go recently, and now for the Terps and Locksley this month, in Year Two of the Big Ten with the talent level down. He said recruiting can solve it all.
"You have to build a kind of different team for that league. It's all about fronts and running," Poggi said of the Big Ten. "Just look at Michigan and what they did: we're going to have tight ends and fullbacks, and then stop the run. And you know, the ACC is different, spread out, spread league, up and down, and they [Maryland] were built differently. But Mike can coach, Mike can coach, and I'd love to see it happen to turn this thing around. I have known Mike for 20 years and he can do it be it as a coach, a recruiter, you name it."
Poggi said that of all the player parents he has had, he lists Locksley among the very best as far as trusting him with his kids (Kenny Goins, Shane Cockerille, and now Melvin Keihn, "who is like our kid, my wife and I."), and vice versa.
"So we love Mike. I love Mike Locksley. And I'll tell you what, if Mike Locklsey were head coach at Maryland there would be a whole lot more Gilman kids going there, that's for sure."
Poggi said Maryland has to "figure it out, and soon," as to who the next head coach will be. Today could tell a lot about the fortunes of which way the interim tenure could go, "while it's not completely fair to judge him on that alone [the next few games]," Poggi said of Locksley and his hopes for the job.
A win Oct. 24 could begin to snowball things in his direction, while the recruiting piece remains strong with the likes of Trevon Diggs, Shaq Smith and Keith Simms, among others, Maryland still out in front of under Locksley.
This year, Poggi and Gilman have Ellison Jordan (Penn State) and Devery Hamilton (MIchigan) committed already, both former Terps targets. Poggi wondered who knows how their recruitments -- and many other Gilman players of late and through the years -- could have been impacted had Locksley been the head man at College Park.
Locksley recently offered two Gilman underclassmen this month -- sophomore OL Ja'mion Franklin and freshman OLB Shane Lee -- both of whom will be unofficial visitors of Maryland's Oct. 24 in Baltimore for the PSU game.-->