Hurricane Impacts Recruit's Decision

Kentrell Lockett, the 6-5, 230-pound defensive end prospect from Louisiana, was evacuated from his home when Hurricane Katrina struck, and he says it has given him a new perspective on life, and his decision...

Living just outside of New Orleans, defensive end prospect Kentrell Lockett (6-5, 230) from Boutte (LA.) Hahnville has had his mind on other things the past two weeks.

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Lockett evacuated to Houston, Tex. Concerned about friends at home and the condition of his house for days, he then was looking for some kind of distraction to keep his mind off it.

He had hoped that the beginning of the fall contact period September 1st, when college coaches can resume calling recruits, would provide a nice escape.

So when September 1st came around, Lockett was disappointed to not hear from any schools.

"I sat there on August 31st saying to myself, ‘This time tomorrow, I'll be getting calls.' Then they didn't come on September 1st so I was getting worried. But then we realized our cell phones weren't getting calls still," said Lockett.

Lockett and his family returned back to Boutte on Saturday night and they were immensely relieved to discover their house sustained no major damage. They regained electricity on Sunday.

Lockett then starting getting calls from college coaches Saturday night.

Amidst all of the uncertainty, Lockett said his recruitment continued to be on his mind. "I kept thinking, this can't happen to me. My senior year in high school, my senior year in football all could be gone. I'm just ready to get back out on the field and start playing again," said Lockett.

Lockett said that Hahnville's schedule remains uncertain because of damage to several opponents' schools, but that they anticipate playing some games. "Fortunately, I had some scholarship offers so that should help me out," said Lockett.

Lockett recently received his 16th offer, from Alabama, and the Tide made the list of his five favorite schools. "UCLA, Florida, West Virginia, Alabama and Ole Miss are my top schools," said Lockett, who claims offers from all five of them. "UCLA is the leader."

When asked if the hurricane impacted his decision, Lockett didn't hesitate in answering.

"Yes, it does. My mom said no matter where I go, please, please, please get away from where hurricanes hit. That's why I like UCLA so much. They don't have hurricanes there," said Lockett. "UCLA is a school I really want to visit. I love Coach (Eric) Bieniemy and I know they have a bunch of guys at UCLA from down here."

Lockett, rated the #9 defensive end in the nation by, had 70 tackles, 16 sacks, recovered 7 fumbles and had 12 more tackles for loss his junior year.

He really made a name for himself last spring after an excellent showing at the Combine at Tulane. "That's where I really started getting noticed. Schools started sending me all kinds of stuff after that," said Lockett.

He has yet to set up any official visits, ("I was going to do that on September 1st"). He does plan to take all five of his trips this fall.

For now, Lockett said he wants to get refocused on football season and to try put Hurricane Katrina behind him and his family.

"It really made me start appreciating what I have when I was watching the news, seeing everything on television. My brother and I tried to do what we could to make the situation lighter, but it's tough. My family is really lucky we didn't have anything really bad happen to us," said Lockett.

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