Platte County football sees 4 seniors sign college scholarships on signing day

Lloyd Lockett decided to play up the drama with his college commitment. The Platte County senior didn’t tweet out his choice until minutes before Lindenwood confirmed him as part of its 2016 class on national signing day Wednesday, Feb. 3. He signed along with Platte County teammates Christian Encarnacion (Graceland), Dane Rader (Benedictine) and Conner Welch (Iowa Western Community College), although an official ceremony won’t be held for them until a later date.

Lockett will join the Division II St. Louis school as a defensive back after a tumultuous final season that saw him move from defense to quarterback due to injury. He played five games on defense and finished with 14 tackles and two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown in a blowout against Ruskin.

After a 5-0 start, Platte County junior Justin Mitchell suffered a broken collarbone in practice, and Platte County coaches replaced him by moving Lockett to quarterback. He finished 55-for-118 passing with 545 yards and four touchdowns to go with 397 yards rushing and three more scores.

The Pirates went 3-4 in his seven starts.

A three-year starter, Locket also had two interceptions and a touchdown on defense as a junior. Lindenwood touted his ability to be a cover corner in the MIAA in a tweet announcing his commitment to the Lions.

Three of Platte County’s four players to sign last week switched sides of the ball during the Pirates’ 8-4 season that ended with a loss.

Encarnacion didn’t, starting 11 games at middle linebacker and finishing with 58 total tackles (fifth-best on the team). He also had two tackles for loss and two fumbles forced in his second year as a starter. Rader and Welch both spent time on the offensive line for Platte County this season.

A second-year starter, Rader (6-foot, 290 pounds) started the season at defensive tackle, missed three games due to illness and returned to split time between both lines. He had 19 tackles (two for loss) and one sack on defense but played only part time there while starting at offensive guard late in the season.

A transfer student from Iowa, Welch began his first and only season at Platte County at offensive tackle but mostly played outside linebacker by the end of the year, a part of a massive transition following Mitchell’s injury.

Welch finished with 25 tackles (five for loss), one sack and one fumble recovered. He and Rader helped block for an offense that accrued nearly 2,000 yards rushing and more than 1,600 passing despite the upheaval following Mitchell’s season-ending injury.

Lockett, Encarnacion, Rader and Welch were all honorable mention All-Suburban Conference Blue Division selections on defense.