The world of high school football converges with college football in an environment like the Polynesian Bowl.
Nobody knows this better, perhaps, than Danny Lockhart Jr. He was a standout at Citrus Valley (Calif.), and in an effort to gain more exposure to recruiters, transferred to St. John Bosco before senior year. Lockhart became a cog in the Braves’ defense, helping the powerhouse make a run to the national title.
That included a stop in the islands, where Bosco defeated Mililani. Lockhart had a stellar performance in that battle and never stopped. Still, there are no scholarship offers on the table just yet. Lockhart, like many eventual college and pro standouts at linebacker, isn’t the prototype, 6-foot-3, 235-pound specimen. At 5-11 and 215 pounds, he is getting interest from several FBS programs, but for the most part, college recruiters are almost bound by law to offer prototype athletes first.
“I just look away from all the negative things and just focus on positive things,” Lockhart said after Tuesday morning’s practice at Aloha Stadium. “I’m just blessed to be here. I’m thankful for the opportunity to compete with the best of the best.”
He understands the nuances of recruiting enough to be quite patient under the circumstances.
“For me, I don’t pay attention to that. I just be the best me I can be and get the job done,” Lockhart said.
His favorite player is Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner.
“He’s 6 foot, 240. He’s smart. Always has a nose for the ball. Always knows his opponent head to toe. He watches six hours of film,” Lockhart noted. “OK, if that’s what I’ve got to do to be great, then I’ve got to do the same. He just works hard. I think no matter how much talent you got, you can always outwork someone.”
Lockhart wears No. 7 for the team in white (Mauka) and will be chasing, at times, No. 7 for the team in black — Makai quarterback Jayden de Laura, among others. That’s a theme that could extend into the next level if Lockhart winds up in the Pac-12 Conference since de Laura is a signee with Washington State.
“Arizona said they’re circling back to him, to sit tight,” said Lockhart’s father, Danny Sr. “Another school said they would offer after the (Polynesian Bowl) game.”
When the family decided to uproot and move to Bellflower from Redlands, it was a life-changing event.
“I feel it was all worth it. Me and my family put a lot of sacrifice and time to make the move. It was definitely all worth it. It was a lot of work, but it made me better as a person and a player, and I’m definitely ready for the college level,” Lockhart Jr. said.
Younger brothers Benny, a linebacker, and Jordan, a 6-3 wide receiver, also learned to adapt to a new environment. Jordan has spent the offseason working out with Hawaii QB Cole McDonald, who declared for the NFL Draft last week.