Prairie View A&M University Panthers
Edmondson-Westside High School
Prairie View A&M University Panthers coaches are experiencing quite a different off-season in 2014 – their phones are constantly ringing. On the other end of the line, there is usually some NFL team's area scouts currying favor from whoever picks up the phone with a simple request – game films on the Prairie A&M quarterback, Jerry Lovelocke.
Since the school began competing in football at the collegiate level in 1907, there is nary a soul still on campus from the Panthers glory days in the 1950s through the early 1960s. During the 1951-64 campaigns, Prairie View A&M captured eight Southwestern Athletic Conference titles and earned five black college football national championships.
During that golden era, scouts and coaches were frequent visitors to the football complex. Over 30 Panthers would eventually play in the NFL, but only 17 would be drafted. Just one of their former stars, safety Ken Houston, is enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame, but former AFL standout wide receiver Otis Taylor has a place in the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Honor.
Among the 17 players drafted by an NFL team, none were selected in the first round and just two of those athletes heard their names called in the second round. The earliest any Panther went on draft day was receiver Donnie Williams, the 35th overall choice in the 1970 draft by the old Los Angeles Rams, but after making just one catch for nine yards that season, Williams never stepped on an NFL field again.
The other second-rounder, Stacy Robinson, was selected with the 46th pick in the 1985 draft by the New York Giants. He fared much better than Williams, staying with the Giants from 1985-90, but he would conclude his career with only 48 grabs for 749 yards (15.6 ypc) and seven touchdowns, as injuries limited him to only 43 appearances, including 14 starts. Robinson would also be the last Panthers to be selected in the NFL Draft.
Ken Houston went on to be a perennial All-Pro safety playing for the Houston Oilers from 1967-72) after the team selected him in the ninth round of the 1967 draft. He later joined the Washington Redskins (1973-80), finishing his career with 49 interceptions for 898 yards in returns, causing 10 fumbles while recovering 21 others in 196 games, including 155 starts.
Otis Taylor is the only Panther to hold a very rare distinction – drafted by two teams in 1965. With the old NFL-AFL wars in full bloom, Kansas City took the All-Pro receiver in the fourth round with the 29th overall pick. Philadelphia waited until the 15th round (pick 203). To Taylor, the decision was simple – join Hank Stram's KC squad. From 1965-75, he pulled in 410 passes for 7,306 yards (17.8 ypc) and 57 touchdowns in 130 games.
Others have gone on to success in the NFL after playing at A&M, but the list is limited. Sam Adams was a standout offensive guard for New England (1972-80) before spending his final season in New Orleans (1981), starting 121-of-135 games he appeared in after he was signed as a free agent by the Patriots.
Defensive back Jim Kearney, an 11th-round selection by Detroit in 1965, spent two seasons with the Lions (1965-66), signing on with Kansas City (1967-75) before inking a one-year deal with the Saints in 1976. He started 103 games, picking off 23 passes for 462 yards and five touchdowns during a 142-game career.
The Atlanta Falcons used their fourth-round choice in the 1969 draft to take Jim Mitchell. The tight end started 141 games, coming up with 305 receptions for 4,358 yards (14.3 ypc) and 28 touchdowns before retiring as a Falcon in 1979. The rest of the A&M NFL alumni struggled to maintain their roster spots every year.
Now, the buzz is getting louder and louder for the Panthers' quarterback, a once-lanky 200-pound recruit who has filled out to an imposing 244-pound senior, one who is drawing favorable comparisons to the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger for his ability to stand tall in the pocket and fire the ball to his receivers without his targets breaking stride on deep routes.
Lovelocke also hopes to be the first Panther to complete a pass in an NFL game. The only quarterback ever drafted from the university was Charlie Brackins, a 16th-round selection by The Green Bay Packers in 1955. He appeared in seven games that season, but failed to connect on his only two pass attempts as a professional.
Lovelocke showed tremendous promise when he stepped into the starting lineup for seven contests as a red-shirt freshman for the Panthers in 2011, but a 2012 fall camp saw him share playing time with Deaunte Smiley during that campaign. He reclaimed the starting position in 2013, guiding a team that led the Southwestern Athletic Conference and ranked sixth in the nation in total offense (517.6 ypg), placing ninth in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in scoring (39.0 ppg) and 10th in passing (301.7 ypg).
The Baltimore product was a standout quarterback as a junior and senior at Edmondson-Westside High School before joining the Prairie View A&M program. He lettered three times on the gridiron for head coach Dante Jones, who also mentored his quarterback as a member of the Red Storm's basketball team. The multi-talented athlete also competed on the Edmondson baseball squad.
Even before he stepped on the field for the Red Storm as a senior in 2009, Lovelocke was drawing considerable attention from Mid-American Conference and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school.
Recruiters saw that at 6-foot-4, Lovelocke had the size of a prototypical college quarterback and Jones said the camps helped fine-tune his throwing motion. While the coach praised his quarterback's physical tools, his best trait could be mental.
With the last of Edmondson's Class 2A championship team graduating, Lovelocke took on an expanded leadership role during his senior year. Jones was already fielding calls from Pittsburgh, Boston College and Georgia requesting more film on Lovelocke and that they informed the coach they planned on attending several games during the quarterback's final season.
Before his senior season, Lovelocke had received two-star recruit status from Scout.com, which rated him 99th on their national quarterback list. The Red Storm stumbled to a 5-5 record, but the senior passer amassed 1,673 aerial yards that included 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions, also rushing for seven scores. In Baltimore City League play, he threw seven touchdowns and hit on 61-of-115 tosses (53.0%) and seven touchdowns in six contests.
With his final season winding down, Lovelocke had yet to receive any scholarship offers from BCS schools. He had attended camps on the Ohio State and Rutgers University campuses, but outside of the MAC and MEAC universities, he was still waiting for other offers. Eventually, the quarterback decided to join the Prairie View A&M program, signing his national letter of intent to attend the university on February 9th, 2010.
Lovelocke was an observer most of the 2010 season at the school, but did make a very brief appearance vs. Mississippi Valley State, but did not throw or run with the ball. In 2011, he started seven games, appearing in 10 contests. A right ankle sprain vs. Grambling State would limit his mobility the second half of the schedule, but he did gain 1,020 yards with 10 touchdowns vs. four interceptions on 91-of-177 throws (51.41%), adding three more scores on the ground.
Lovelocke would suffer a lower leg injury during 2012 fall camp and De'Auntre Smiley would begin the season as the Panthers' starting quarterback. Lovelocke was eased back into the starter's role for five contests, but managed to find the end zone with just five of his 150 pass attempts, completing 98 of those tries (65.33%) for 1,033 yards and four interceptions, scoring two more times as a ball carrier.
Except for being sidelined for most of the Jackson State clash and the second half vs. Mississippi Valley due to an injury, Lovelocke started all year for the Panthers in 2013. He was named All-SWAC second-team, despite pacing a unit that led the league in total offense, passing, pass completion percentage, third-down conversions (48.5%), total first downs (319) and scoring.
Lovelocke completed 285-of-429 attempts (66.43%) for 2,833 yards, 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He rushed for nine more scores and averaged 259.33 yards per game in total offense. He was 15th in the nation in points responsible for (192), leading the SWAC and placing eighth in the FCS in pass completion percentage, as his average of 23.67 completions per game was good for tenth in the country.
Lovelocke enters his senior season as the unquestioned elite passer in the NCAA Football Championship ranks. With 5.0-second speed, he is not really a fast ball carrier, but he has valid foot quickness driving from under center and moves around the pocket quite well, getting to his pass-throwing point with good urgency. He possesses above-average throwing mechanics and you can see on game films that his motion is smooth, compact and quick, as he displays a loose and fluid arm.
Much like the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger, Lovelocke has outstanding arm strength with good rotation and weight transfer unleashing the ball. He can rifle the intermediate tosses on a line and deep with little effort. Even his off-balance attempts display good velocity. He has completed 65.33% of his passes as a sophomore and 66.43% in 2013, thanks to his ability to flash pinpoint accuracy.
Lovelocke continues to mature, as he stands tall under pressure and plays with quick reactions when the pocket is compromised. Even though he won't win too many foot races, his nine touchdowns on the ground last season are the result of his ability to lower his pads, keep his legs churning and power through arm tackles.
Lovelocke has appeared in 33 games at Prairie View A&M, starting 33 contests, as he completed 474-of-756 passes (62.70%) for 4,886 yards, 38 touchdowns and 17 interceptions…Carried 174 times for 668 yards (3.84 ypc), reaching the end zone 14 times on the ground…On 930 offensive plays, he amassed 5,554 yards in total offense and was responsible for 52 touchdowns…Turned the ball over nine times on 14 fumbles and was sacked 31 times for losses totaling 159 yards.
School Career-Record Results…Lovelocke holds the Panthers' all-time records for pass completions, as his 474 tosses topped the old mark of 355 by Mark Spivey (2003-2008)…His 756 pass attempts surpassed the previous record of 601 by Charles Brackins (1951-54), the only quarterback in school history to be selected in the NFL Draft (1955 by Green Bay)…Needs 14 scoring strikes to top Brackins' school record of 51 touchdowns…
Lovelocke has accounted for 4,886 yards passing, breaking K J Blacks previous record of 4,187 yards (2009-10)…He joins K.J. Black (64.1%) as the only Prarie View A&M passers to complete at least 60% of their attempts (62.70%)…Generated 5,554 yards in total offense, surpassing Jim Kearney's old record of 4,603 yards (1961-64).
School Season-Record Results…Lovelocke's 285 pass completions in 2013 shattered the old annual record of 168 by K.J. Black in 2010…His 429 pass attempts in 2013 also passed Black (285 in 2010) for the Panthers season record…Topped Chars Brackins previous A&M record of 20 touchdowns (1954) with 23 scoring strikes in 2013…Is the first player in school history to throw for at least 2,500 yards in a season, as his 2013 total of 2,833 yards surpassed the old mark of 2,154 yards by K.J. Black in 2010…Became the first player with at least 150 pass attempts to record back-to-back seasons where he completed at least 60% of his passes (65.33% in 2012 and 66.43% in 2013).
School Game-Record Results…Lovelocke completed 42 of his passes vs. Alabama State in 2013, topping the old school record of 29 successful throws by De'Auntre Smiley vs. Jackson State in 2012…Also set the A&M mark by attempting 62 passes in the 2013 Alabama State clash (old record was 52 by Josh Barnes in 1998)…His five touchdown passes vs. Abilene Christian in 2013 tied the school record that Charles Brackins set in 1952…Gained 533 yards passing vs. Alabama State in 2013, surpassing the school record of 436 by Brackins in 1952…His 541 yards in total offense vs. Alabama State is second on the A&M game chart behind De'Aundre Smiley (568 vs. Jackson State in 2012).
Lovelocke received preseason NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-American and All-Southwestern Athletic Conference preseason honors from The NFL Draft Report, as that scouting service also regards the Panther as the most underrated draft-eligible pro-style quarterback in college…Recently named to the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) Watch List.
2011 Season…Lovelocke missed the second half of the Grambling State game with a right ankle sprain that would force him to miss the Panthers' next contest vs. Southern University.
2013 Season…The quarterback left the Texas State game early in the third quarter when he suffered an upper body injury during a violent collision…He suffered a shoulder injury in the second half of the Mississippi Valley State game, missing the second half of that contest, after he was slammed to the turf on a QB keeper that netted eight yards, setting up a touchdown run by his replacement, De'Auntre Smiley, on the next snap. He would make just a cameo appearance the next week vs. Jackson State.
4.96 in the 40-yard dash…1.80 10-yard dash…2.82 20-yard dash…4.38 20-yard shuttle…
7.27 three-cone drill…32-inch vertical jump…9'08" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 16 times…34 3/8-inch arm length…10 ¼-inch hands.
Lovelocke attended Edmondson-Westside (Baltimore, Md.) High School, playing both football and basketball for Red Storm head coach Dante Jones, in addition to competing for the school's baseball team…As a sophomore, he backed up Carroll Washington at quarterback, appearing briefly in three games, as he made 4-of-8 tosses for 89 yards and a touchdown, adding another score on the ground…Prior to the 2008 season opener, Jones shifted Washington to wide receiver and Lovelocke stepped into the first unit behind center…Lovelocke's first start of the season was vs. Fort Washington's Friendly High, where he completed 10-of-15 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown, leading the Red Storm to a 16-7 win over the Patriots…The junior struggled in the first half of the Red Storm's next game, vs. Loyola, but settled down in the second half, throwing for a touchdown and finishing the game with 277 yards…The team compiled an 8-4 record that year, as the All-Baltimore City junior completed 113-of-183 attempts (61.7%) for 2,384 yards, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions…The small school All-State second-team pick by The Gazette returned for his senior season, but not before he spent the 2009 summer as one of several area prep players to attend The Severn School to participate in the Quarterback Factory's QB Tune-up event….Lovelocke attended the Nike Baltimore Combine at M&T Bank Stadium in March and also spent the 2009 offseason in summer school, as he worked hard to improve his academics…The Red Storm stumbled to a 5-5 record, but the senior passer amassed 1,673 aerial yards that included 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions, also rushing for seven scores in 2009…In Baltimore City League play, he threw seven touchdowns and hit on 61-of-115 tosses (53.0%) and seven touchdowns in six contests.
Lovelocke is majoring in Communications…Nicknamed "J. Love"…Son of Paula Tolbert Lovelocke…Born 10/088/92 in East Orange, New Jersey…Resides in Baltimore, Maryland.