SE: Snyder Knows Best for Lockett

Tyler Lockett

Nov. 8, 2011

By Mark Janssen

The kid had planned to redshirt, and the dad had agreed. But the head coach had other thoughts.

“I had redshirted and it worked for me, Aaron had redshirted and it worked for him, so it only made sense that it would work for Tyler,” said Kevin Lockett, Tyler’s father, and Aaron’s brother. “Coach thought he could play and be a factor, and coach is rarely wrong. Once again, he was absolutely right.”

Snyder has said that the youngest Lockett is a blend of dad and uncle, and certainly with the same makeup: “He really wants to do well. More importantly than that, he wants to do all the things that you have to do in order to perform well on and off the field.”

The youngest Lockett has definitely performed on the field saving his best for this past weekend’s game with Oklahoma State just a few miles from where he grew up in Tulsa.

In K-State’s 52-45 loss to the No. 3-ranked Cowboys, all Lockett did was rush for 84 yards, which included a 57-yard double-reverse sprint, catch three passes for 55 yards and returned six kickoffs for 193 yards, including an 80-yarder in the final minutes of the game.

That total of 315 all-purpose yards ranks fifth most in a single game in K-State history and helped him to the Big 12’s Special Teams Player of the Week honor.

At the end of the night, the freshman talked like a veteran: "I think we showed the nation that you can't just look down on us. This game showed that you can't look ahead when you play us.”

Just nine games into his K-State career, Lockett, who just turned 19, has caught 18 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns, plus became the first Wildcat in history to return kickoffs in consecutive games – Texas Tech and Kansas – for touchdowns.

His 35.2-yard average on 16 kickoffs presently ranks second in the Big 12 and the nation only to Texas’ Fozzy Whittaker’s 42.4-yard average on 10 returns. Should he maintain such an average, it would rank No. 1 in K-State history for a single season ahead of William Powell’s 34.6 average set last year.

“It’s been an absolute blast to watch,” said Kevin of his son. “We all knew the potential existed, but we were a big advocate of redshirting him and coming back the next year ahead of the curve. But he’s quickly figured out how things work at this level and taken advantage of the opportunity.”

Chuckling, he added, “To think Tyler was in high school seven months ago is crazy.”

Dad Lockett’s appreciation for his son is at an ultra-high level because he experienced it as a Wildcat from 1993-96 when he became the Wildcats’ all-time leading receiver with 217 catches and in yardage with 3,032.

For the record, Aaron Lockett ended up with 137 career catches for 2,400 yards, which both rank fourth in K-State history. In addition, he ranked seventh for a career in kickoff return average at 25.3 yards and one touchdown, and second in punt returns with a 15.6-yard average and three scores.
Kevin says of his son, “His fast start was because of his athletic ability and his vision on returns. What he’s doing now is building off that into the technique and the mental part of the game. It’s our hope that he will become a better return man than his uncle and a better receiver than I was.”

In case you were wondering, here’s a look at the rookie seasons of the trio of Locketts:
1993: As a redshirt-freshman, Kevin Lockett caught 50 passes from Chad May for 770 yards and four touchdowns. The number of catches ranked fourth in the Big 12 and 48th nationally, and the yardage was second in the league and 45th nationally. In his first game as a Wildcat, Lockett caught seven passes for 92 yards. Twice he enjoyed eight-catch games for over 100 yards. The Wildcats went 9-2-1, which included a trip to the Copper Bowl.

1998: Aaron Lockett caught 44 passes from Michael Bishop for 928 yards and six touchdowns during his redshirt freshman year. The totals, which included a 21-yard per catch average, ranked second on the team to Darnell McDonald’s record-setting 75 catches for 1,092 yards. Lockett did not return punts or kicks as those duties were performed by David Allen and Frank Murphy, respectively. K-State started the season 10-0 and ranked No 1 in the nation, but ended up 10-2, Big 12 North Champions and participants in the Alamo Bowl.

2011: In his true freshman season, Tyler Lockett became the first Wildcat in history to return kickoffs for touchdowns in consecutive games – 100 yards vs. Texas Tech and 97 yards vs. Kansas. As mentioned, his 35.2-yard average ranks second in the Big 12 and nation, and his two TDs are tied for first. As a receiver, Lockett has caught 18 passes from Collin Klein for 246 yards and three touchdowns. The Wildcats are 7-2 and bowl eligible.

Of the trio of Locketts, Snyder has said of Tyler, “He has his uncle’s athleticism and speed, and his dad’s technique and hands.”

Dad Lockett agrees as he says, “He has the best of me and the best of my brother.”

And the Lockett family is having the best of times.

While Kevin’s parents – John and Beatrice – were in attendance for 43 of his 44 Wildcat games, dad has missed only one game of Tyler’s games, which was at Texas Tech where he returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.

“We were home and it went from dead quiet to crazy,” said Lockett of watching the return on TV. “His mom and I were jumping on the couch with the twins (3-year olds Jacob and Jordan) and the 8-year-old (Sterling) was doing back flips.”

Laughing, Lockett said, “People tell me we need more Locketts at K-State, so Sterling is coming in 2022, and the twins two years after he’s done, but that’s it for this Lockett family.”

Lockett reports that Sterling is in his second year of playing flag football.

“He doesn’t understand the magnitude of what Tyler is accomplishing, but he understands enough that when he scores in flag football he’s been known to call Tyler and say, ‘I scored, what happened to you?’”

Today, Kevin Lockett is the chief operating officer for Ewing Kaufman’s Urban Entrepreneur Partnership program in Kansas City, while Aaron works for Conoco Phillips in Houston, Texas.

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