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Owls linebacker Michael Lockley's athleticism puts him on another level

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Owls linebacker Michael Lockley's athleticism puts him on another level


Here is an intresting piece on Middle Linebacker Michael Lockley by Tom D"Angelo. According to the article Lockley is currently Ranked the 20th LB in the country and his vertical leap is only two inches under NBA superstar Lebron James'.Seems like the Defense may have some hidden talent amongst players waiting to play? Where has this guy last season?

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Owls linebacker Michael Lockley's athleticism puts him on another level

By TOM D'ANGELO

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

BOCA RATON Michael Lockley even had the officials fooled.

Lockley, Florida Atlantic's middle linebacker, was flagged during last season's Motor City Bowl for using a teammate to propel himself skyward during a field-goal attempt by Central Michigan. The problem was that no such aid was used, or even necessary, and the officials picked up the flag. Lockley, who jumped over the Central Michigan center, can reach unexpected heights on his own.

A 42-inch vertical leap does that for you.

"Michael Lockley is one of those freakishly athletic guys, and whatever he plays he's good at it," Owls quarterback Rusty Smith said.

Lockley is a fifth-year junior who inherited his spot from Franz Joseph, FAU's all-time leading tackler. Although still learning the position, Lockley is averaging 10 tackles a game, which ranks him 20th in the country.

"He's at the point now where things are starting to make a lot more sense," linebackers coach Kurt Van Valkenburgh said. "You need that game time to get that feel."

What has helped is the athletic ability that Lockley says he inherited from his father, James, a former three-sport start at Chapman High in Apalachicola. Lockley's vertical not only is the best among all athletes currently at FAU, but only three college players jumped higher during last year's NFL scouting combine.

In fact, Lockley's vertical equals the best by former NBA star Dominique Wilkins, is 1 inch better than Julius Erving's best and 2 inches below LeBron James' peak. Michael Jordan's top vertical was 48 inches.

But James Lockley, who didn't play college sports because of a knee injury but received degrees from Florida A&M and Florida State, takes little credit for his son's athletic ability.

"I don't believe in inheriting athletic ability. You work at it," said James Lockley, who lives in Orlando. "Mike worked extra hard at what he does. He'll outwork anybody."

Many consider Michael Lockley and his roommate, tight end Jason Harmon, the best athletes ever to wear an Owls football uniform. Harmon, who is known for leaping over defenders, has a 38-inch vertical.

Harmon said of Lockley: "He's just so talented. He's got so much ability. He's somebody you don't want to go against."

Lockley, 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, was the athlete of the year at Olympia High in Orlando as a senior. He had 110 tackles and blocked seven kicks along with placing seventh in the state in the discus and ninth in the shot put. At Florida Atlantic, he waited his turn behind Joseph and Cergile Sincere before settling in at middle linebacker. His only blocked kick at FAU was two years ago on an extra-point attempt by Louisiana-Lafayette, the Owls' opponent at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Lockley said he tries to emulate the mental approach of Joseph and Sincere.

"Their focus and mentality were different from every other player that I have seen," Lockley said.

Now, Lockley is learning to pick up where Joseph left off.
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