Locke receives high praise from Cooks

Beaumont (Texas) Central Senior defensive back James Locke received an offer from Notre Dame on Saturday morning. He talks about his interest in Notre Dame and recaps his phone conversation with Irish assistant Kerry Cooks, who told Locke where he ranks on Notre Dame's board and how many safeties and corners Notre Dame plans to take in 2015.

Notre Dame has offered players from Texas in the past week - safety Prentice McKinney, wide receiver Ryan Newsome, and the latest to receive an offer, defensive back James "P.J." Locke of Beaumont's Central Senior.

"We've been in touch a little bit before the offer," Locke said. "After Michigan State offered (Feb. 11), I started hearing from Coach (Kerry) Cooks. This is a great opportunity. Notre Dame is a great academic program, and that's really what I'm basing my decision off for college."

"After I got offered this morning, I did a lot of research on Notre Dame," Locke added. "If I have Notre Dame on my resume after college, I know I'll be able to find a great job. I want to major in engineering."

Locke spoke with Irish cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks, who recruits the state of Texas for Notre Dame, after he was offered.

"Coach Cooks told me that the defensive staff watched highlights of 15 safeties yesterday, and that I was the most prestigious guy out of that group. They are going to be playing an NFL-style defense, and they need a safety like me - a safety that can walk up and cover the slot guy, get off blocks to make the tackle, and can play anywhere on the field. He said they haven't had a safety like that in three years at Notre Dame."

Cooks also provided Locke with insight onto Notre Dame's numbers regarding defensive backs in the 2015 class.

"He said Notre Dame wants to take two safeties and two corners in this class," Locke said.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound athlete is visiting SMU for junior day next weekend, and he'll head to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State after that. Notre Dame is also in good position to receive a visit this spring from Locke.

"Notre Dame is a big one, of course I'll visit," Locke said. "Most likely, it will be this spring."

Locke also holds offers from Illinois, Michigan State, Northwestern and Southern Methodist.

"It's kind of amazing that some of these academic schools are coming after me," Locke said. "They present great opportunities."

Locke is a three-star prospect in the class of 2015. Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are also showing heavy interest.

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