Mike Locksley and top “power-broker,” program’s brand makes top-25

When Maryland football head coach Mike Locksley took over the program in late 2018, he had a vision of building his hometown program into a national brand.

That vision is coming to fruition according to a survey from OfficialVisit, which ranked Maryland No. 24 in the country as a college football brand. The ranking has the program as the No. 5 Big Ten football brand and showed a 17-spot rise in the three-and-a-half years since Locksley took over.

“We also have such a powerful brand and relationships throughout the country,” Locksley said when he signed the 2021 class. “I really feel that the Maryland brand continues to be a strong brand because of our location. And located outside of two major metropolitan areas, large media markets, opportunities for life after football, these are all attractive things for kids and parents throughout the country that want to have a chance to be successful with or without the football.”

RELATE: Five-star Terps basketball prospect: “I’m going to be around Maryland a lot.”

The site surveyed 1,000 high school football players with the question: “If you were the #1 recruit in the nation with offers from every program, how likely (1-10 scale) is it that you would choose [program]?” Players that were surveyed were not being actively recruited by Power 5 programs to avoid any biases that the recruiting process may have provided.

After determining the “OVBS,” which serves as the gravitational pull of each school, OfficialVisit contrasted those results to each program’s average recruit 247Sports Composite rating. The R-squared, which is used to analyze the correlation between two variables, was 0.82 and showed a high correlation between the two metrics, meaning that the recruiting process does little to sway prospects.

Knowing the high correlation, the study went on to compare average recruit rating to wins, revenue and football spending. While these numbers do affect each other, the correlation between recruit rating and these categories were not nearly as strong.

Maryland managed to outperform many programs in similar tiers with the 2022 class, pulling together an average rating of 87.10 compared to just five wins, under $100 million in revenue and just over $20 million in football spending. Locksley and his staff over the years since his takeover have put in the work to outperform its situation thanks to the brand and name that Maryland provides.

“[Relationships] really helped us to maybe expand our net, Locksley said when he signed the 2020 class. “If we can get to where we control the DMV, we probably don’t have to go out as far but we’re a national brand. And if these local guys don’t think our program is good enough, we’ll go find them somewhere else.”

Locksley’s personal brand has also grown. This week he was tabbed as one of 11 key power brokers/advocates in college football by ESPN. As the president and founder of the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches, Locksley has worked to prepare, promote and produce minority coaches at all levels of football.

The OfficialVisit survey conducted was just a peek into the mind of prospective student-athletes, collecting data from December 2021 to February 2022 and not taking into account the ever-changing nature of the business. Name, Image and Likeness, social media, recruiting operations and other growing parts of the equation have and will continue to change the landscape, but Maryland has proven itself to be one of the strongest brands. Now the Terps need to show it on the field.

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