The Lockett name has become synonymous with Kansas State football. Kevin Lockett is the school’s all-time leading receiver and was a key part of coach Bill Snyder’s reclamation project in Manhattan in the 1990s. Kevin’s younger brother, Aaron Lockett, was a second-team All-American for the Wildcats in 2000.
Today, Kevin’s son, Tyler Lockett, is carrying on the Lockett tradition at K-State. He’s the second-leading receiver in the Big 12, and one of the most dangerous returners in college football.
As the Tulsa, Okla., native prepares for the Wildcats’ game at Oklahoma State on Saturday, Tyler spoke with ESPN.com about the Lockett tradition in Manhattan, what it’s been like to play for Snyder and K-State’s remaining goals after opening the season 2-2:
Jake Trotter: What’s it like to play at the same school as your dad and uncle?
Tyler Lockett: It was a great experience just to be able to watch my dad and uncle play. Not too many people are able to say that. Not too many people are able to remember that. I don’t remember my dad at K-State, but I remember watching him in the NFL. I remember coming to my uncle’s games, especially the Cotton Bowl against Tennessee. It was an exciting thing. Ever since I’ve come here, it’s been a great place to play college football. I’ve played for a great coach, who wants you to be successful in football, but teaches life lessons, too.
Trotter: With your dad and uncle, was it a given you were destined to go to K-State?
Lockett: My dad and uncle didn’t want to pressure me. It was basically my decision. Even though I grew up watching K-State, I wanted to see what else was out there. I wanted to give the teams that recruited me heavily a chance. At the end of the day, I felt like Kansas State was the place for me.
Trotter: What other schools heavily recruited you?
Lockett: KU and Iowa State, mainly.
Trotter: Were your dad and uncle happy when you committed?
Lockett: They were very happy. At the end of the day, they kinda wanted me to go here. They didn’t want to tell me that. But it was good to come to a place I was very familiar with.
Trotter: You take pride in being a Lockett at K-State?
Lockett: Definitely. We do take pride in it.
Trotter: Who’s the best Lockett?
Lockett: If I had to say, I’d say my dad.
Trotter: What’s it really like to play for coach Snyder?
Lockett: The only thing I would say about coach Snyder is the life lessons, the stories that he tells. He’s very honest and he wants you to be successful off the field as well as on the field. That really says a lot about him. He always uses football to relate to real life. Like when we lost to North Dakota State, he said, ‘Are you going to give up? In life, are you going to quit when things get tough.’ That hit home with the players, because you face adversity in life. When you have a coach that not only cares about football, but cares about you in general, that really means a lot.
Trotter: What are the goals for this team? After losing two games, have you had to adjust them?
Lockett: For the most part, we have the same goals. One of those is to win the Big 12 championship. Even though we lost to Texas, anything can happen if we do our part and let things take place. As Coach Snyder says, “It’s about us. Focus on us, and do our part.”
Trotter: Like OU last year? You guys beat them early on in the season, and they came back to share the title.
Lockett: That’s something he points to. He also talked about ‘03, when K-State lost the first two conference games, and ended up winning the Big 12.
Trotter: Do you relish playing the Oklahoma schools?
Lockett: Yes sir. I look forward to it. For me, it’s the same as Kansas State-Kansas. It’s the same as a rivalry game. A lot of people get to come watch me play from my family who might not be able to make it every game. It’s special to be in front of family members, and to play against guys I played against in high school. Playing in Oklahoma, I’m close to home, and that’s a great feeling and a great experience. It’s something you’ll remember when you get older.
Trotter: Last question. Your favorite local place to eat in Manhattan?
Lockett: La Fiesta. I ate there the other day for the first time. I really liked it.