How Braedyn Locke became Wisconsin football’s third transfer portal QB addition

MADISON, Wis. — Braedyn Locke’s dialog with new Wisconsin offensive coordinator Phil Longo within the staff’s quarterbacks room was supposed to finish at 3:30 pm final Saturday afternoon. Enough time for Locke and his mother and father to return to the resort throughout Locke’s recruiting go to and put together for a 5:45 pm bus trip over to dinner.

Locke and Longo have been so absorbed in analyzing the schematics of the Air Raid offense Longo intends to run — and the way Locke seamlessly blended into the system — that they did not break till 4:45 pm, barely permitting time to catch the bus.

But that session paled compared to the impromptu dialogue the pair engaged in after dinner, when Locke and his household arrived with Longo again on the resort by 8 pm There Locke and Longo sat within the foyer, the Jacksonville Jaguars-Tennessee Titans sport on within the background, drawing up performs on napkins collectively till about 11.

“It was the craziest factor,” mentioned Locke’s father, Trey. “Watching coach Longo and Braedyn focus on the offense, it was unbelievable for me as a result of they have been form of ending one another’s sentences.”

If you need to know why Locke, a Mississippi State transfer, dedicated to Wisconsin final week regardless of a quarterback room that already featured 5 scholarship gamers — together with two in his personal class — these hours speaking with Longo supplied a fairly good indication. Locke has an unwavering perception in Longo and the methods during which he may help Locke attain his potential in a quarterback-friendly scheme that gives intriguing potentialities in Madison.

Locke mentioned Longo’s offensive success at earlier stops similar to Sam Houston, Ole Miss and North Carolina and the numbers his quarterbacks have compiled have been necessary. North Carolina ranked within the prime 12 nationally in whole offense thrice within the 4 earlier seasons underneath Longo. But much more necessary to Locke was the connection he developed with Longo, whom he credited with being a superb communicator.

“He’s simply so upfront and so sincere,” Locke mentioned. “I could not recognize that extra as a result of he is in a occupation that is filled with fakes and phonies and other people which might be going to misinform you. I actually recognize and worth our relationship as a result of he is so sincere and up entrance and he is all the time going to shoot you straight.

“That’s form of what drew me to him to start with. Just being round him these previous couple of weeks speaking on the telephone and stuff, simply understanding it is a actually good college and also you mix that together with his type of offense, we have got an opportunity to be actually good. It’s one thing that I actually need to be part of. I’m glad I’m. We’re getting all these weapons and issues are actually lining up and shaping as much as be actually good for us. It’s a heck of a time to be part of Wisconsin soccer, and I did not need to let that chance go me up.”

Longo first recruited Locke throughout his junior season at Rockwall High School in Texas whereas Longo was the offensive coordinator at North Carolina. Locke mentioned he and Longo talked a number of instances per week again then about soccer, life, recruiting and “the whole lot underneath the solar.” Locke and his household even took an unofficial go to to North Carolina in April 2021.

But it got here throughout a time when restrictions from the pandemic have been in place. As a consequence, the household was capable of watch the spring sport and peek into the indoor amenities however couldn’t meet with the coaches in individual. Their solely correspondence with Longo was over the telephone and Zoom video calls. Locke in the end selected to play for Mississippi State within the Air Raid system underneath Mike Leach, who was Longo’s mentor. Locke did not have a possibility to truly meet Longo face-to-face till his official go to to Wisconsin two weekends in the past and mentioned he felt as if he already knew Longo nicely.

Locke, who’s 6 toes 1 and 210 kilos, didn’t seem in a sport final season for Mississippi State. After Locke entered the transfer portal on Jan. 3, he mentioned Florida Atlantic, Houston, North Texas and SMU pursued him. He dedicated to Wisconsin, the place he took his solely go to, so rapidly that he did not contact different colleges that have been .

Locke mentioned he was conscious of Wisconsin’s wealthy soccer custom from dinner and grew impressed with the tutorial facet on his go to. He is about to start the semester together with his undergraduate diploma undeclared however studied economics at Mississippi State. He additionally got here away from his journey wowed by head coach Luke Fickell’s enthusiasm, management and presence within the room. Trey mentioned the joy Fickell has created was palpable throughout their campus go to.

“I truly was having that dialog with Braedyn the opposite day,” Trey mentioned. “It nearly seems like the proper storm. If you’ve got ever been to Texas, there’s all the time these eerie moments the place you stroll outdoors and it is very calm. It’s form of a inexperienced tint and there is robust humidity within the air and a sure degree of strain and also you simply know a superb thunderstorm is coming.

“I instructed Braedyn that is form of the scene up there with coach Fickell’s brilliance on protection and the good coaches that he is bringing in. And then you definately’re bringing in coach Longo, who understands methods to use the run sport and the Air Raid pretty much as good as anyone within the nation to actually put numerous strain on defenses and be capable to threaten the protection from sideline to sideline and assault area. I feel it is nearly like the proper storm brewing.”

Locke mentioned his greatest attributes have been having a fast launch, being ready, anticipating reads and demonstrating decisiveness and elevating the play of his teammates by management and playmaking potential. He set the Texas Class 6A profession document with 128 passing touchdowns on 26 interceptions and ranked second all-time with 11,182 passing yards.

Wisconsin’s offense underneath Longo strongly appealed to Locke due to how a lot it mirrored the shotgun-spread system he ran in highschool. During the primary begin of Locke’s sophomore season, he threw for 569 yards in opposition to Highland Park. As a senior, he handed for 508 yards in opposition to Lake Travis. Locke eclipsed 400 yards passing on eight events in his prep profession.

“In highschool, I acquired to the purpose the place I really mastered the system,” Locke mentioned. “I felt like by my senior yr, it was simply second nature to me as a result of I had been doing it for thus lengthy. Obviously with coach Longo, there’s going to be totally different terminology, however my Rockwall background and my Mississippi State background nearly tie into coach Longo’s offense completely.

“Anything within the vertical passing sport goes to be Air Raid, Mike Leach sort of stuff. But he prides himself on operating the ball downhill, getting in two-back units and attacking individuals, enjoying with a decent finish and likewise throwing RPOs. That was our bread and butter in my Rockwall days was getting in two-back and throwing RPOs and actually letting the quarterback deal it out and handle the sport and be decisive again there. I really could not be extra excited to play on this offense.”

Wisconsin has added 13 scholarship transfers this offseason, together with 9 on offense. Three of these transfers are quarterbacks, however the Badgers constructed high quality depth on the offensive line with Cincinnati transfers Jake Renfro and Joe Huber and have added 4 large receivers. Two receivers, Will Pauling and Quincy Burroughs, performed underneath Fickell at Cincinnati.

The different two receivers, USC transfer CJ Williams and Oklahoma State transfer Bryson Green, are among the many crown jewels of the offensive transformation. Williams is a former four-star and top-10 receiver within the 2022 class. Green was the Cowboys’ second-leading receiver and caught 36 passes for 584 yards and 5 touchdowns final season. Those gamers will work to enhance returners that embody gifted tailbacks Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi, receivers Chimere Dike, Skyler Bell and Keontez Lewis and 5 offensive linemen who began video games final season.

“I feel we may be the perfect offense within the nation,” Locke mentioned. “I actually do. I imagine that. I do know we’ll be enjoying some actually good defenses. I do know we’ll be enjoying in opposition to some actually good gamers. But it simply comes all the way down to execution. It comes all the way down to doing all of your job.

“I feel that the teaching employees has achieved their job. They’ve put the appropriate gamers in place. I do know they are going to give us a superb scheme and all that. At this level, it is our job to have an awesome offseason, have an awesome spring and go on the market and execute come fall and win numerous soccer video games.”

go-deeper

Locke, who is about to maneuver to campus this week in time for the beginning of the spring semester and offseason exercises, is now a part of a quarterback room that’s as gifted as maybe any Wisconsin has ever had. Sixth-year senior Tanner Mordecai transferred from SMU this offseason, whereas redshirt freshman Nick Evers transferred from Oklahoma.

Mordecai, Evers and Locke all have been four-star highschool prospects. Locke was the No. 22 quarterback within the 2022 class and Evers was ranked No. 9. Myles Burkett, an in-state product, is the third scholarship redshirt freshman on the roster. Cole LaCrue is an incoming freshman, whereas Chase Wolf is about to return for a sixth season. Mordecai, who handed for 7,152 yards and 72 touchdowns the previous two seasons at SMU, is projected to start out subsequent season earlier than what may very well be a captivating quarterback competitors. Longo additionally secured a dedication from four-star 2024 quarterback Mabrey Mettauer.

Locke mentioned he wasn’t involved in regards to the variety of scholarship quarterbacks on the staff as a result of he’s keen to guess on himself. As Trey instructed his son: “Competition breeds excellence.” And with Longo in place, Locke is assured he’ll be capable to thrive.

“There’s not a faculty within the nation that does not have one other quarterback on the roster,” Locke mentioned. “I perceive there’s some actually good gamers within the room and I am unable to wait to be round them day by day. But in the end nothing is handed to you on this sport. And I feel that is what you need. You need a aggressive room that is going to make everybody higher.

“If you already know that any person’s in your again or if you already know that you just’re on any person else’s again, then each of you will elevate your sport since you need to be the one enjoying. You simply cannot run from competitors on this sport, on this league. I wasn’t going to let that a part of it shy me away from such an awesome alternative.”

(Photo: Courtesy of the Locke household)

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