Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley will be named head coach at New Mexico, sources have told ESPN's Joe Schad. Locksley emerged as the leading candidate to succeed Rocky Long during the weekend.
It was only a matter of time before Locksley took a head-coaching position, but this definitely comes as a surprise. He makes good coin in Champaign and appeared to be holding out for a BCS conference job. He interviewed at Clemson and reportedly talked with Syracuse as well.
Locksley is an East Coast guy with recruiting ties to the Washington, D.C., area, so he seemed destined for a Big East or an ACC job, not one out West.
The good news is New Mexico is a stable program in an excellent conference (the Mountain West). It's not in a great recruiting area, but Locksley's recruiting prowess should bring some top talent to Albuquerque.
Illinois undoubtedly will continue to run Locksley's dynamic offensive system. Ron Zook might have lost his pipeline to the Washington D.C. area -- Locksley landed players like Arrelious Benn and Will Davis -- and it will be interesting to see who he brings in to replace Locksley.