Posted: 9:24 pm Saturday, January 7th, 2012
By Matt Porter
After a military school detour and a recruiting battle between two ACC programs, Robert Lockhart is ready to play college football.
The former West Boca Raton wide receiver, who spent last fall trying to improve his grades, Saturday committed to the University of Miami.
Lockhart signed with Virginia Tech last February, but did not qualify. He enrolled at Fork Union, a military academy in the central part of Virginia.
“He had the opportunity to open some other angles,” West Boca coach Willie Dodaro said. “He got his grades up and he was able to be recruited again. That opened up another chapter for him.”
One of last year’s late-bloomers, Lockhart committed to Virginia Tech last January after receiving late interest from several BCS programs. But instead of joining former teammate and Hokies commit Ja Wand Blue in Blacksburg, he’ll meet another ex-teammate, Miami freshman defensive tackle Corey King, in Coral Gables.
According to those close to Lockhart, who could not be reached Saturday, he intents to sign a letter of intent to Miami in the coming weeks.
West Boca defensive coordinator Junior Moran, who is Lockhart’s first cousin, said Lockhart had a hard time choosing between the programs. His former coach, Dodaro, said Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer pleaded with Lockhart during a recent in-home visit.
Moran felt Lockhart wanted to stay close to his family and compete among UM’s talented incoming class, which includes Angelo Jean-Louis and Gabe Terry of Palm Beach Central.
“He was going back and forth,” Moran said. “But I think he’s pretty solid to Miami.”
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Lockhart was a 6-foot-2, 175-pound two-sport star last year at West Boca, but Miami appears to be getting a bigger, stronger version of him. According to Dodaro, Lockhart now stands 6-3 and close to 200 pounds. “He’s filled out,” Dodaro said. “He’s really a big boy.”
In his senior football season, Lockhart caught 34 passes for 686 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught a pair of touchdowns and was named National Team MVP in the Palm Beach County-Treasure Coast All-Star Game. In basketball, he averaged 21.3 points per game, best among large schools players. He was a first-team All-Area selection in both sports.
Dodaro said Lockhart was never off the radar of the schools who came to recruit this year’s senior class.
“They always asked, what happened to Robert?” Dodaro said. “I know there were several schools who would have loved to have him.”