SE: Catching up with Tyler Lockett

Former K-State football and current Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett is recognized in Bramlage Coliseum before the Dillons Sunflower Showdown on Feb. 20, 2016.

Tyler Lockett’s successful rookie season in the NFL may have come as a surprise to some, but to those who know him best, it was just more of the same. 

During his years with the Wildcat football team (2011-14), Lockett was known for his top-notch work ethic. Wide receiver coach Andre Coleman watched first-hand as Lockett worked diligently to perfect his craft on the football field at K-State and is glad that dedication is paying off for the young receiver. 

“It was great to see him,” said Coleman, who caught up with Lockett during his recent trip back to Manhattan. It was the first time the two saw each other since last July. “It’s great seeing him coming out of his shell. Tyler is very reserved, very humble, but I like to see that he’s come out of his shell a little bit. One of the things I’ve told him is to have a little bit more confidence because he has done all the things it takes; he’s put the work that nobody else has. I told him he should be confident because he’s prepared. So to see him go in and have the success that he had, I was not surprised because I knew how well prepared he was, but I am very excited for him.” 

After being picked 69th overall by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft last May, Lockett was quick to make an impact once he was on the field with his new team. 

In his first season with the Seahawks, Lockett caught 51 passes for 664 yards and six touchdowns at wide receiver while also returning a kickoff and a punt for a score. He set a Seahawks rookie record with 1,915 all-purpose yards in 2015 and became one of just two players in franchise history to have five or more receiving touchdowns while also scoring on kick and punt returns as a rookie. 

He capped his stellar debut season with a trip to the 2016 Pro Bowl where he caught one pass for 10 yards – which came on a fake punt as he was guarded by fellow Seahawk Richard Sherman – and returned one punt for 24 yards. To cap off his honors, he was named First Team All-Pro as a returner. 

“It’s been really good, it’s different because it’s not a lot of wear and tear on your body like it is in college,” said Lockett during his visit in Manhattan. “I went to a team that’s really fun; they do a good job at having fun and playing hard. Everyone has a great mindset, and we have some of the best vets; they’ve really helped me out. They don’t withhold information from you like I’ve heard other places do. For them, to they’re willing to help you out and do whatever they can to help you be successful. 

“I was close with all the receivers because we saw each other a lot,” Lockett continued. “I was really cool with Doug Baldwin and Jermaine (Kearse), and Russell (Wilson) and I got close, especially towards the middle of the season. I talked to (Richard) Sherman way too much, maybe every single day.” 

Lockett let out a laugh as he looked back at his first year as a pro. Along with his teammates, the rookie helped Seattle put together a 10-6 record during the 2015 season and earn a berth as a Wild Card in the NFC playoffs.

As for favorite moments, Lockett’s favorite touchdown came before the season even began. 

“I think one of my favorites came in the preseason, the one against San Diego. I like that punt return the best,” he said with a smile referring to his 67-yard punt return that helped the Seahawks to a 16-15 preseason win over the Chargers. “The preseason made everything easier because you expected it to be way different than it was, then after you start playing you realize there’s this whole big perception of what you think it’s going to be, and wasn’t really like that; it’s the same thing as college.“But there were a lot of other plays too. The whole Arizona game was a highlight. I credit that to all the people who were out there blocking for me. They made it so much easier and I was able to run and not worry about people coming.”

Now with a year under his belt, Lockett said he believes his time at K-State played a key impact on his quick rise to success at the professional level. 

“Playing here at K-State helped me a lot because they’re very strict,” he explained. “When I got to Seattle, they weren’t strict at all. Now I’ve got to see both sides of it. (Seattle head coach) Pete Carroll is just totally different from Coach (Bill) Snyder, but being a part of Coach Snyder’s program made it a lot easier to be a part of what Pete has because I already had that discipline that coaches hope you have when you transition from college to the NFL.

“And I think that’s the biggest difference with the NFL – you don’t have anybody telling you what to do. It’s all on you. You don’t have to work out or do anything until you get there, but if you’re not in shape, that’s your fault. You can have a bad game, lose your job and get cut. It’s a business, and you have to look at it from a business aspect.”

Working to become one of the best in the business, Lockett still holds a strong work ethic and gives everything he’s got. While he is finding success on an entirely new platform these days, the spotlight hasn’t changed his mindset. During his time at K-State, he credited his numerous broken records, his crazy catches and his awards and accolades to his strong faith. Now that he’s excelling in the NFL, that faith hasn’t changed. 

“I always credit my success to God because that’s where I get everything from,” he explained. “I feel like I have strength when I do it for Him. It makes it easier because you don’t have any expectations for yourself. Everybody has expectations and do all these great things, but when I just have one goal, and it’s for Him, it makes everything easier. So, regardless of what happened throughout the season, I knew it was going to be good; I just didn’t know it was going to be that good. I became one of just three rookies to go to the Pro Bowl and was the only rookie to make the All Pro-Team. It’s amazing. So I always keep the same goal; I keep playing for Him every year. That will never change.”