Lockwood looks to strength career

By Gus Bode

Editor’s note: This is the first article in a regular series following the careers of standouts from the 2007 SIU football team, the most successful in recent history.

SIU football changed Aaron Lockwood’s life, and the spring graduate will soon use the lessons he learned in it to change the lives of others.

In four years in Carbondale, Lockwood transformed from a self-described lazy rebel who weighed in at 360 pounds to a 290-pound All-American lineman.


Now after earning his bachelor’s degree, he’s moving on to the Colorado State weight room, where he hopes to share his success story with players in a similar situation.

With recommendations from former coaches Jerry Kill, Dale Lennon and head strength coach Jared Nessland, Lockwood earned an internship as a weight room strength coach for the Colorado State Rams. As a member of the Mountain West Conference, the Rams regularly compete against BCS contenders Utah, Texas Christian and Brigham Young.

Lockwood said he hopes to earn a reputation in the weight room for his hard work and use his story to help inspire others.

‘If I see a guy may be struggling or really not buying in to something, I might just whisper him some facts,’ Lockwood said. ‘If I can help anyone out and try to change them the way I was changed by working out so hard I will definitely let them know what I did and see if they can feed off that.’

In his senior season, Lockwood earned All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team honors and was voted to the American Football Coaches Association’s FCS All-America team.

He also earned a tryout for the Chicago Bears, which he called a ‘mind-blowing’ experience. The team brought him in to the historic Halas Hall, where he went up against linemen from Purdue, San Diego State and other celebrated programs.

For three days, Lockwood said, he got to live the life of an NFL player, complete with chef-made meals, a hotel suite and a ‘life coach’ who shared tricks of NFL success.


Although he was not what the Bears were looking for, Lockwood said he would not trade the experience for anything. He said he realizes the NFL is a tough business to crack and is content to move on to other things.

‘If I get a call out of nowhere and they say ‘Hey, you still weigh enough? You still think you can do it?’ Yeah, I’d be more than happy to come in there and give it a shot,’ he said. ‘But at the same time I don’t go to bed at night thinking, ‘I really hope I get that phone call tomorrow,’ because realistically it’s probably not going to come.’

Lockwood said he would also consider an opportunity some of his former teammates have taken in the Canadian Football League or Arena Football League if it returns next season, but is not actively pursuing those possibilities.

While he will be training in a room with a sheep on the wall instead of a dog, Lockwood said he wouldn’t forget his great times as a Saluki and all the connections he made at SIU.

‘No matter what, I should be back for at least two to three home games next year,’ he said.