Standing at 6-feet-4 and 290 pounds, there is no question that Tennessee's latest verbal commitment provides tremendous size to the O-line.
According to his Spring Valley (W.V.) High School football coach Brad Dingess, offensive guard Riley Locklear offers the whole package — and then some.
“He’s big, and he’s athletic,” Dingess said of the Huntington, Virginia, native. “You couldn’t ask for or describe a better kid than what he is.
“He’s a great, hardworking student. He’s a leader in the weightroom, a leader on the field. He’s a war daddy when it comes to it — when he steps between the lines.”
The Scout No. 4-ranked offensive guard in the East took a visit to Knoxville in the spring to attend a practice alongside Dingess. Locklear found himself not only at home on Rocky Top, but also impressed with the involvement of the coaches.
“(Locklear) felt comfortable there — comfortable with coach (Don) Mahoney, coach (Butch) Jones," Dingess said. H"e liked how they coached. He liked how involved coach Jones was in the practice. You go to some places that he’s been to watch spring ball, and the coach was shaking hands, not really involved with the actual practice. He liked the way coach Jones was involved with practice the whole time.
“He like academically what Tennessee offered, the overall facilities and campus. It was an easy fit for him.”
Prior to his junior year, the No. 1 guard in West Virginia stood at 6-feet-3 and 230 pounds and played longsnapper as well as several positions on defense.
Though he has just one year of experience along the offensive front, Tennessee's staff saw Locklear's potential for versatility during a summer camp in Knoxville just several weeks ago.
“Talking with coach Mahoney, they like him because he can play every spot on the line,” Dingess said. “He has potential to. He did really well down there when they did put him in center. He’s athletic enough that he could play anywhere up there on the line.”
As a Class of 2017 prospect, the Scout three-star will enter the Tennessee football program during center Coleman Thomas’ senior year, which might provide an opportunity for Locklear to slide inside to center by his sophomore year.
Locklear defines student-athlete as he excels both in the classroom and on the field.
“He has an overall 3.8 GPA. He’s taken honors chemistry and he’s in pre-engineering," Dingess said.
“I think (Tennessee) got a good one. He’s not only one of the best football players I’ve ever seen, but one of the best students I have ever coached.”
InsideTennessee managing editor Danny Parker contributed to this report.