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The Lockett Legacy
K-State's Tyler Lockett catches a pass for a touchdown against West Virginia at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas on October 26, 2013. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
August 12, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
Tyler Lockett knows he's close to breaking his dad's career receiving yard record - he just doesn't know exactly how close.
And that's all right with him.
"I get tweets about it, they tell me that I'm like 800 something yards away," laughed Lockett to the crowd of cameras and recorders in his face, all waiting to hear his story. "I'm maybe 70 something catches too. For the most part, I tell people if I beat it, I beat it. It's not something that I'm just thinking, 'I've got to beat it, I've got to beat it.' If it happens, it happens."
Lockett paused. He couldn't help but grin.
"But my dad has always said if he wants anyone to break it, it'd be his son," he said.
Tyler Lockett is 75 receptions, 837 yards and nine touchdowns away from breaking the records held by his father, Kevin, who had 217 receptions, 3,032 yards and 26 touchdowns from 1993-96. They're numbers not far out of Tyler's reach as, in 2013, the Tulsa, Oklahoma, native caught 81 receptions for 1,262 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. It marked one of the best seasons by a wide receiver in K-State history, and only former Wildcat and current Green Bay Packer receiver Jordy Nelson (1,606 receiving yards in 2007) has had a better single season than Tyler.
But overall, it's his dad who holds the career records. Overall, his dad, Kevin, is No. 1.
"I try to focus on the now; focus on the things I can work on," continued Tyler. "Whether I break his record or whatever happens, when it happens, I'll be able to enjoy it. But at the same time, he played a part in it by investing the knowledge of the game in me. He was able to help me become the player I am today."
The player he is today is ranking among the top wide receivers in college football. Along with being named to numerous preseason watch lists, Lockett was a Preseason All-America selection by both Sporting News and USA Today Sports. Heading into the 2014 season, Lockett also grabbed two spots on the All-Big 12 First Team, representing K-State as both a wide receiver and kick returner.
Last year, Lockett ranked No. 16 in the nation in receiving yards. His 81 receptions for 1,262 yards and 11 touchdowns rank in the top five in K-State history in each category. He not only was turning heads as a wide receiver, but also as a kickoff returner where his 1,834 career yards are already a school record, while his 31.1-yard return average ranks second nationally.
One of the best all-purpose players in K-State history, his 4,209 all-purpose yards rank second in Wildcat football record book to former running back and current Philadelphia Eagle, Darren Sproles (2001-04).
Yet, despite his success, he isn't satisfied. He takes nothing for granted, and he's not comfortable unless he's giving 100 percent.
"I just want to be technically sound. I want to be able to do everything to the best of my abilities," said Lockett. "I realize that technique beats talent. Sometimes you can rely on your talent to win, but when you go against guys like we did last year, they're just as talented as you are, so you have to be able to beat them with technique. That's something that I want to overemphasize in every single practice and every single game this year."
It's one thing to talk about working hard; it's another to go out there and do it.
And Lockett does it. After every practice, he is hungry for more.
"Tyler is a young man that puts in a lot of work," explained K-State wide receiver coach Andre Coleman. "It's no surprise to me that he had the type of success that he had last year because his work ethic is really impeccable. He stays out after practice and works for 45 minutes to an hour after everyone else has gone in. He comes in, asks questions, and he's constantly watching film of his opponents. He wants to learn what to look at, how to attack his opponents and find their weaknesses. A lot of people don't put in that type of work. That's what it takes to be successful."
His success is no surprise to head coach Bill Snyder, either. Snyder's watched from his office as Lockett works to perfect his technique late into the night.
"He's one of those guys that, when you leave the practice field and go in your office and look out the window, you've got the equipment managers out there twiddling their thumbs wanting to get the lights turned off but Tyler won't let them because he's out there catching balls off the machine and keeping quarterbacks out to throw to him," Snyder said.
Snyder is no stranger to the Lockett family. He coached Kevin to success as well as Tyler's uncle, Aaron Lockett, from 1998-2000. Both Kevin and Aaron went on to play in the NFL and both of their names are etched into the K-State football record book. After two decades, Snyder knows the Locketts well and had nothing but good to say about Tyler and his family.
"Tyler comes from an amazingly wonderful family, and each of the three that we have had, even though they have far different skill capabilities on the field, all of them were quality players," said Snyder. "But more importantly than anything else is the fact that they are truly genuine people. They have a great value system brought forth by their family, their parents. Tyler has taken the same road Aaron and Kevin did when they were in our program. They work diligently at trying to be better people, better family members, better players, better students, day in and day out.
"Tyler does exactly that. He's an extremely hard worker. He's a young guy that right now I'm so proud of his attitude, his value system. Part of that guides him to do anything and everything that he can to get himself a little bit better every day.
"He's just a young guy that he's got all his marbles in the right place."
There is no doubt Tyler Lockett is a part of a family of special people. The Lockett legacy is one of K-State football's greatest stories and, this year, that story has the chance to become even greater.
Tyler knows he wouldn't be the player he is today without the help of his dad. Kevin has shared numerous years of football knowledge with his son, and now, as Tyler looks forward to his last season as a Wildcat, knows he has one more chance to display that knowledge on the gridiron for K-State.
"It's not like he withholds information so I don't break his record," laughed Lockett. He smiled again seeming to enjoy talking about his dad. "But maybe if I do break it, I might get to point to him after that catch that broke it. Who knows, I might not."
Another pause. Another grin.
"But I might be able to break it, and if I do, I know I'll cherish that moment."