Tennessee offensive line commit Riley Locklear wears No. 75 with pride.
Each time Locklear takes the gridiron for Spring Valley High, the Huntington, W. Va., native pays homage to the 75 victims killed in the tragic 1970 plane crash involving the Marshal University football team.
“Around here, to wear No. 75 is a privilege,” Locklear said.
“It has meaning, especially in my community.”
The deadly accident was famously depicted in the film We Are Marshall and Locklear hopes to continue representing his hometown at Tennessee.
“It’s special,” the 6-foot-5, 295-pound right tackle said.
“My brother (Alex) wore 75 in high school and now he’s at Marshall. He might get to wear that jersey number here pretty soon. That’s definitely the number that I’d like to have at (Tennessee).
Five things to know
1. He’s only played OL for one year, but the 3-star prospect held 22 offers before choosing Tennessee over FSU, Penn State and others: “Tennessee was the right fit for me. Whenever I got a chance to watch Coach (Don) Mahoney, I saw some things in him that I really liked and how close of a group his o-line unit was. .. I don’t think I could have made a decision for myself. Play in the best conference in the country and playing for some of the best coaches.”
2. He respectfully gave his other finalists a heads up before announcing his decision: “The day that I decided to commit to Tennessee — before I made it public — I felt like it would be respectable to take the time and call these coaches that recruited me very heavily. Schools that are Penn State, Michigan State, schools like Florida State. I took the time to call all those o-line coaches and head coaches that I built relationships with and said, ‘I want to thank you for your time and this opportunity that you’ve given me but I’m going to take my talents to Tennessee.’ That way they wouldn’t find out via Twitter. That was the most respectable thing to do. Most of those coaches actually really appreciated it. They said, ‘You know what thank you very much. Thank you for calling me.’ They told me to let them know if something changes, but as of now and as of always I’m committed to Tennessee. I don’t see myself anywhere else.”
3. He wants to major in kinesiology and is a true West Virginia outdoorsman: “I really like to fish and hunt. (My favorite) is large mouth bass fishing.”
4. He plays opposite of budding 2019 offensive tackle Doug Nester, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound Spring Valley sophomore who camped at Tennessee in late July: “He’s got a lot of potential. … I’d really like to see him come to Tennessee. I’m trying my best.”
5. He’s got real mean streak … on the field: “It’s just when I play football. Outside of the field, you would never think that. When I’m on the field I’m a completely different kind of guy. I’m fired up. I’m ready to be there. I’m ready to do my job and win these big-time ball games. I do have a little bit of a fiery streak.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Jesse Simonton covers Tennessee football and recruiting for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and SECCountry.com