The clues were everywhere. The Missouri football helmet front and center on the table. The gold balloons. The mostly black-and-gold clad throng that made the Summit Grill & Bar feel like a Mizzou pep rally.
But the biggest clue of all to the future plans for Lee’s Summit High two-sport star Drew Lock was something that wasn’t quite so outwardly visible - his family history.
Lock announced on April 9 that he would accept a scholarship offer to play football at Missouri – just like his father and grandfather before him.
“It means a lot to me that I get to go to the school my dad went to, and my granddad.” Lock said. “It’s surreal, to be honest. I always thought about playing at Missouri, but it never clicked on me that I could be on that field.”
Lock, a 6-foot-3 quarterback, turned down offers from Tennessee, Ohio State and Michigan and a host of other schools to play football for the Tigers. An all-state selection in basketball, he also had offers from Oklahoma and Wichita State in that sport.
But ultimately, it came down to a family decision.
“I could have played at any other school, but I don’t think the true family, so to speak, would have been behind me if I didn’t go to the University of Missouri,” Lock said.
Lock’s father, Andy, an offensive lineman for the Tigers during 1986-89, and his mother, Laura, sat with their son as he announced his decision in front of a large gathering of friends, hopeful Mizzou fans and media. As he finally made his decision known, his mother handed him a gift bag. He pulled a Missouri cap out of it and he put it on his head.
“I’m here to announce today that I’m going to play football in the SEC, two hours down the road from here,” Lock said as the crowd erupted in cheers.
Lock first made that announcement to his father and mother, Laura, about two weeks ago. Andy Lock said he had to “step out of the room” after his son told him.
“I am one of the proudest fathers ever today,” said Andy Lock, who owns the restaurant where his son made his announcement. “It’s a big step for Drew.”
Missouri first started showing interest in Lock during his sophomore year, which was a thrill for both father and son. But soon other schools became part of the picture as he developed his skills as a drop-back passer.
After completing 199 of 331 passes for 3,062 yards and 35 touchdowns with only seven interceptions and leading Lee’s Summit to a 10-2 record his junior year, Lock became one of the most highly recruited quarterbacks in the nation. Recruiting service Rivals.com labeled Lock a four-star recruit and the No. 5 overall pro-style quarterback.
As much as he wanted to see his son follow in his footsteps, Andy Lock said he tried not to hard-sell Drew on the Tigers. He said the decision had to be his and his alone.
“Absolutely, it was hard,” Andy Lock said. “But I’ve seen this for a long time and I knew how important it was for me to take a step back. When he asked me for input I gave him input, and then when I had to let him run with the ball I let him run with it.
“He’s a mature kid, he did a really nice job of sorting through it coming up with questions he needed to ask. Then we came to a decision together and it’s a great decision. I’m very, very happy.”
Missouri still faced some stiff competition for Lock even with the strong family connections. A visit to Notre Dame was a real eye-opener, he said. Tennessee, which Lock said finished No. 2 to the Tigers, was also impressive.
But none of those other schools could offer the same thrill he felt when he paid a visit to MU’s Memorial Stadium and walked onto Faurot Field.
“My dad walked on this very field,” Lock said of his feelings at the time. “He did walk out of this stadium, and to think so many years later I’m going to get the chance to actually do that … Like I said, it’s surreal.”
The recruiting process can be surreal, too, which is one reason why Lock decided to make his announcement when he did. Not only did he want to be able to enjoy his senior year, he also wanted to lend a hand in getting more top talent to the Tigers.
“The first thing he said to me was, ‘Dad, when I’m ready commit, I’m going to commit because I want to help the school recruit,’” Andy Lock said. “You get a couple of extra recruits around you who may not have come if you weren’t a part of that process, it could be the difference from eight or nine wins to 10, 11 or 12 wins and I think he understands that.”
Lock understands that he might not start right away at MU, where likely No. 1 quarterback Maty Mauk will just be a sophomore next season. He also understands that playing basketball, a subject he said he discussed with Tigers coach Frank Haith “some time ago,” could also be in his past after his senior year in high school.
Still, the allure to be a Tiger, and carrying on the family tradition, was just too strong.
“I couldn’t have played anywhere else but Missouri because that is where their heart lies, and now my heart lies there, too,” Lock said.