"It's starting to take a big step forward," James Lockhart said. "Recruiting is like a season: sometimes it's hot, sometimes it's cold. Right now, I'm starting to talk to more and bigger schools."
Truthfully, Lockhart said that he originally thought his recruitment might be done by this point. And he and his family are trying to narrow down his options, though he's hit a few roadblocks so far.
"When I went to Texas A&M, I was thinking 'this could be where I want to be at.' But I really didn't talk to A&M since I went to the Alabama game. That's been cold for awhile," Lockhart said. "Then, I was really leaning towards Texas, and Texas had my heart and showed me love. I loved Mack Brown. Then, what happened there, that kind of threw me.
"So things have turned around a little bit where I don't know where I'm going," Lockhart said. "I like Texas, I like Baylor, I like TCU. I just think I'm going to go with it slow for a bit to try and see where I want to be at. I'm going to take some visits out of state, go to Alabama, go to Georgia, and see some other big schools."
That includes a visit to Auburn for its Junior Day on Feb. 22, the same date as Texas's first Junior Day. Lockhart said new Texas coach Charlie Strong saw him and invited him to that Junior Day, but Lockhart said the timing wasn't going to work out. Could he head to the Longhorns' second Junior Day? That's "up in the air," per Lockhart, though he said he'll "definitely" get out to see the Longhorns this spring at some point.
"I promise that I will head to Texas again," Lockhart said. "I want to see the new staff and everything. They still send me letters and still send me stuff. I want to go to see if I still have that feeling, that 'this is where I see myself playing' feeling."
Strong might as well have been talking to Lockhart when he talked about the Longhorns' need to add more edge players in the 2015 class. The now 6-foot-4, 255-pound Lockhart is the top-rated defensive end in the state of Texas for 2015 and a current four-star prospect, per Scout.com.
"That's always exciting to hear, that these schools are looking at me, that I'm a high priority," Lockhart said. "There are obviously some things I want to look into before I pull the trigger on anything. I want to see which schools get people to the league. That's my whole goal with everything."
Lockhart also said he wanted to take a longer look at Strong's now-famous rules.
"I respect those rules, but they seem kind of strict," Lockhart said. "I'm not a bad or negative kid, but they seem pretty harsh. That's something I want to look at."
As for his visits out-of-state, Lockhart mentioned that "I've always been a Texas guy," but added that he was warming to the idea of his SEC suitors.
"I've been to Oklahoma a few times, but it is starting to catch my eye that these SEC schools, not just Auburn, but Alabama too, are starting to stay in touch," Lockhart said. "Auburn talked to me three times this past week, and said they really love what I do on film. Their defensive line coach said I shocked his expectations.
"On top of that, they just played in the BCS Championship," Lockhart said. "So I want to go visit campus, visit Alabama and visit the state and see what I can find out."