Four-Star OT on Locksley: “He’s Definitely Changed the Program For the Better”

Tuscarora (VA) four-star offensive tackle Fletcher Westphal has been busy through the fall visiting schools all across the country, but Saturday gave the priority target a familiar scene after he and his parents made it to College Park for Westphal’s fifth visit. The 6-foot-8, 295-pound tackle also noticed improvements within the program after familiarizing him with head coach Mike Locksley’s vision for the program.

“I’ve definitely seen other changes at the school. We’ve seen everything in terms of facilities but looking at how Maryland played last night and what coach Locks was talking about, he’s definitely changed the program for the better,” Westphal told Inside the Black and Gold. “The players at Maryland, coach Locks is always talking about changing the culture and I feel like he’s really succeeding at that. the mentality of the players is what’s changed a lot more and over the last year, really. It’s been for the better and you can see that result with how they’re playing.”

Westphal was among the recruits to meet Locksley at midfield during pregame warmups and after staying through the full game, he got a chance to catch up with offensive line coach Brian Braswell. But Westphal also got an opportunity to watch Maryland’s offensive line tinker their starting rotation, giving freshman Coltin Deery his first career start at center. Maryland’s emphasis on rotations and calculated plan to give underclassmen in-game experience is an aspect that Westphal has heard more about from the staff.

“They’ve definitely brought up how if I went there, I’d have a high chance of getting a lot of playing time my freshman year. At any Power Five school, no one really expects to start their first year because everyone is 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6 and they all weight 300 and it’s about how good you are. Coach Braswell really trains dudes up, he has three guys who are leaving this year for the NFL. They’re all going to be in the NFL so it’s one of those things where at Maryland after they lose the starters to the NFL, there’d be a higher chance if I went there.” Naturally, that’s something that sticks out to him.

“You’ve got to play football to get better and there’s no better way to do that than playing in the game. You always get better in practice, but the most improvement happens in the game in my mind.”

Meanwhile, inside linebacker coach Lance Thompson is leading his recruitment and stopped at his game weeks ago when they faced Loudon Valley. “He stops by the school however often he can. He stopped by a few weeks ago. All the Maryland coaches, they all live like 20 minutes from my school so I know coach Braswell. We were just talking before we left, as [offensive] linemen do, we talk about food all the time. We were talking about this sushi place and coach said he lived five minutes from it. I think I live like 20 minutes away from it. We’re all kind of right next to each other.”

Tennessee, Auburn, Arkansas, Clemson, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and Georgia so far this season, a pair of SEC visits could be up next. “I know I have Florida scheduled for November 12 but I was looking at what’s probably going to be the biggest game that week, the Georgia-Tennessee game. I think those are going to be the next two games that I go to but other than that, I don’t know if this weekend I’ll take a break or if I’ll go to some place on the west coast.”

Westphal is rated a four-star prospect and a 91 overall by On3, sitting as the fifth-best prospect in Virginia and 130th-best in the country.

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