KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On Wednesday, Riley Locklear walked into his first college class at Tennessee.
“It kind of was surreal,” the Vols offensive lineman signee told SEC Country.
“I was sitting there thinking, man, just a few weeks ago I was sitting here in an English class finishing up my senior quest. To make that transition in college. Tennessee has made it easy for us student-athletes. They really do take care of us. They really do watch out for us. They genuinely care about their athletes.
“I love it here.”
Locklear is one of Tennessee’s five mid-year enrollees. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive tackle from Huntington, W.Va. committed to the Vols over the summer. He’s a former tailback turned tackle and sported a 3.9 GPA at Spring Valley High, becoming the first athlete in Wayne County history permitted to graduate early.
Locklear projects as a future linchpin on Tennessee’s line — versatile enough to play guard, center or tackle.
Mature beyond his years, Locklear is open to a redshirt season and is excited to work with new Tennessee strength and conditioning director Rock Gullickson — even if he was nervous meeting Gullickson for the first time earlier this week.
“That meeting, I went into it kind of anxious,” Locklear said. “I did. I think any guy as an early enrollee coming in with a new strength coach would. But after I got to meet him, I really noticed that man, he’s a great guy. I can put all of my faith in him because he’s an experienced weight lifting coach. He’s been around multiple teams. He’s been in the NFL.
“I feel like he can help me as an offensive lineman.”
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