Texas A&M has added one of the best defensive ends in the Class of 2015, locking up the commitment of highly touted recruit James Lockhart.
ESPN's Damon Sayles provided confirmation of the news:
A 4-star recruit, Lockhart checks in as the 106th-best overall prospect, the sixth-best strong-side defensive end and the 11th-best player out of the state of Texas, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.
While many defensive ends at this level are focused merely on rushing the quarterback, Lockhart already has the look of a versatile force capable of making an impact in all facets of the game.
At 6'3" and a well-built 245 pounds even before his senior season, the Ennis High School star already stands out as someone who belongs on a college football field. He is big, strong and adept at shedding blocks in a hurry.
While he doesn't combine that college-ready size with an elite first step or daunting quickness and athleticism, Lockhart fuses a high motor with impressive closing speed to help him make plays in the backfield.
Lockhart's future level of success will likely be determined by how he grows as a pass-rusher.
His size, physical style of play, ability to use his hands to quickly disengage from blocks and back-side pursuit all suggest that his greatest strength will be in the run game. But if he continues to develop moves that help him get to the quarterback with greater consistency, he'll be one of the most menacing defensive players in the conference in a couple of years.
Either way, his ability in the run game makes him a candidate to see the field right away and make an early impact, suggesting this is a valuable addition that will soon pay dividends for head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff.