Tyler scanned the wall. Framed there were pictures of his father and his uncle, highlights and memorabilia of their legendary football careers.
"I want to be on The Wall, Papa John," said Tyler.
John Lockett, Tyler's grandfather, looked intently at him.
"You haven't done anything, son. You're in junior high. There's gotta be some accomplishments before you get on The Wall."
"Well, it's not gonna be long," said Tyler. "I'll be up there."
And Tyler was right. Soon, he would be on that wall. However, sooner than he thought.
Tyler Lockett is not the first person in his family to be good at the game of football. Tyler's father, Kevin Lockett, and his uncle, Aaron Lockett, are both former Kansas State legends that went on to play in the NFL. Kevin played in the NFL for six years - spending time with the Chiefs, Redskins, Giants, and Jets. On the other hand, Aaron Lockett spent only two years in the NFL - with the Bucs and the Niners as a kick returner. Without finding much success in the NFL - Aaron then went on to play in the CFL through the end of his football career. Despite their professional success, Tyler's elders were known for their time at Kansas State.
Known as the "famous Lockett family," Tyler grew up with high expectations and a large following. Expectations to excel. Expectations to be better than the rest. Expectations to be a Kansas State legend. And expectations to live up the Lockett family name.
And another Kansas State Lockett legend Tyler would become.
Tyler was born on September 28, 1992 in Tulsa, Oklahoma - where he would grow up and learn to play football, basketball, and track. Tyler's family and friends knew very early that he was athletically gifted - and could probably go on to play any sport and be successful at is. Tyler went on to attend Booker T. Washington High School - named after the African-American leader and educator in the late 1800s. He played multiple sports and overachieved at all of them. As a sophomore defensive back and wide receiver, Tyler helped lead his varsity football team to an OSSAA championship - an achievement that had not occurred in 24 years of school history.
As his athletic career progressed, Tyler grew a reputation for being a trooper - as an athlete immune to pain. In the second football game of his junior season, Tyler broke his wrist on a bad play. Under-diagnosed by the doctor as a mild sprain, Tyler would go on to play the rest of the football and basketball season with that broken wrist. Not until the conclusion of the basketball season did Tyler finally have a screw placed inside his wrist to aid the healing process. Tyler's junior year of football is when coaches really started to realize the long-term potential Tyler had. Tyler's high school offensive coordinator, James Factor, said this about him:
"He just set himself apart quicker, you know. I can remember him as a junior, you know, and just seeing him run agilities and he just stood out."
Despite a nagging injury, Tyler was getting faster and better. And people could tell.
In Tyler's senior year, he would go on to lead his football team to another OSAAA championship. Naturally, Tyler started to get noticed by college recruiters around the nation. Most notably, Kansas and Kansas State took notice. As a result of the individual and team success, Tyler was selected All-State by the Oklahoma Coaches Association as a defensive back and Class 5A All-State as a wide receiver. This earned Tyler a trip to the East-West high school All-star game.
In the final year of his high school career, Lockett would lead his high school to an OSSAA 5A State Basketball Championship. Additionally, Lockett excelled as a sprinter in track and field. Impressively, Tyler placed first in the 2011 State 5A Regional 100 meter dash with a time of 10.85 seconds. Tyler's diverse athletic record was catching the attention of national recruiters.
Coming out of high school, Tyler was well recruited - ranked as the 170th best wide receiver and 115th best corner in his national class. When the time to make a college decision came, Tyler followed the footsteps of his heritage - choosing to attend Kansas State with an athletic scholarship. Additionally - the head football coach, Bill Snyder, was a clear factor in the decision making process for Tyler. This is what Tyler had to say:
"I wanted to play for a legendary coach. I think coach Snyder is a great coach, and I think he'll get the Wildcats back to the top again."
Furthermore - coming out of high school, Lockett had planned to redshirt as a freshman:
"I want to get bigger. I want to learn the offensive and defensive systems, because I want to try to play both ways, and I want to know it all when I get my chance to get on the field. Also, I've been getting some college credits already, and if I redshirt, it will be easier to focus on my first semester, and then I can have 24 hours completed when most of the other freshmen only have 12. I think that will be a good start for me."
Tyler wanted time to prepare. Time to bulk up, learn the schemes, develop a role, and be ready to play sophomore year. However, that didn't happen. Lockett was thrown into the ring as a true freshman. Naturally, Lockett's first few games were uneventful. Then came a game against Texas Tech. Lockett would return a kickoff for 100 yards and a touchdown for his first electrifying highlight. In that moment, Kansas State fans knew they had someone special.
Lockett would go to on to win Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year - despite missing the last three games due to an unknown injury (later revealed to be a lacerated kidney). Lockett's sophomore year was highlighted by a big day against West Virginia - where Lockett logged 9 receptions for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lockett ended his sophomore year as an "All-Big 12 honorable mention selection" for both wide receiver and as a kick/punt returner. The Kansas State recruit was developing nicely - and coaches could see it.
In the first game of Lockett's junior season against North Dakota State, T-Lock posted 7 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown. Lockett would go on to have multiple hundred-yard games in his junior year - but his most notable game came against Oklahoma. Lockett went off: catching 12 passes for 278 yards and 3 touchdowns. Lockett concluded his junior year with 81 catches for 1262 yards and 11 touchdowns. Not bad, Ty.
Then came Lockett's final year in college. Lockett was prepared and had progressed significantly since his first year of college. And it showed. Lockett had a big senior year. In an emotional game between Kansas - Lockett broke his father's record for receptions and tied his record for touchdowns. In their last game against Baylor, Lockett had 14 receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown - beating his dad's record for touchdown receptions. Later against UCLA in the Alamo Bowl, Lockett posted 13 receptions for 164 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Lockett concluded his college career with 249 receptions for 3,710 yards and 29 touchdowns. He also posted 6 special teams touchdowns.
Tyler Lockett currently holds the Kansas State record for receiving yards in a single game, career receiving yards, career receptions, career touchdown receptions, and career kickoff return yards. Tyler Lockett is the greatest wide receiver in Kansas State history.
Throughout his college career - Tyler had solidified himself as a Kansas State legend, breaking all familial collegiate records. He exceeded the expectations his family and following had for him. And he established new expectations for future Lockett generations.
Now it's Tyler's highlights on the wall of his grandfather's house.
And with the 69th pick in the 2015 NFL draft...the Seattle Seahawks select...