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November 26, 2008Rivals.com has learned that Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley interviewed for the vacant Syracuse coaching job Wednesday.
Syracuse is looking to replace Greg Robinson, who was told Nov. 17 he would be replaced at the end of the season. The Orange are 3-8 and play their final game Saturday at Cincinnati. Robinson is 10-36 in his fourth season on the job.
Locksley has been offensive coordinator at Illinois since 2005 under Ron Zook. Before that, Locksley was running backs coach/recruiting coordinator at Florida from 2003-04. From 1997-2002, Locksley was an assistant at Maryland.
Locksley, 38, is a native of Washington, D.C., who played at Towson State from 1988-91. He is a renowned recruiter, luring the likes of receiver Arrelious Benn, cornerback Vontae Davis and quarterback Juice Williams - among others - to Illinois.
Locksley's 2007 offense became the third in school history to eclipse the 5,000-yard standard and the first to run for more than 3,000 yards as the Fighting Illini earned their first Rose Bowl bid since the 1983 season. Running back Rashard Mendenhall was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in 2007, while Williams has become one of the nation's most dangerous quarterbacks.
Speculation as to others in the mix at Syracuse include Buffalo coach Turner Gill, Oregon offensive coordinator Chip Kelly, New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Doug Marrone and Philadelphia Eagles offensive assistant Mark Whipple.
Several media outlets have reported that Locksley also has interviewed for the Clemson coaching job.
Tom Dienhart is a national senior writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.