Lockett named Big 12 Athlete of the Year, ready for NFL

K-State Athletics Communications

Tyler Lockett ’14 was named the Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year and is preparing to begin his NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo: K-State Athletics Communications)

After his time at Kansas State University, Tyler Lockett ’14 continues to make headlines. The former Wildcat football player — considered one of the greatest wide receivers and return specialists in K-State history — was named the Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year as he prepares to begin his NFL career.

Lockett is the second Wildcat in the past three years to be tabbed the best among all male athletes in the Big 12 conference, joining former Wildcat quarterback Collin Klein '11 following the 2012-2013 season. Nominees are submitted by each Big 12 institution and are selected — based on athletic performance, academic achievement and citizenship — by a media panel as well as fan voting conducted through the Big 12’s social media platforms.

The honor comes at a busy time for Lockett. He was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round of the NFL Draft earlier this year, and he attended his first NFL Training Camp this summer.

“I’m playing with some of the best players in the NFL, some of the best players in their positions, so I get to see where I’m at and what I need to work on,” Lockett said. “I’m taking it all one step at a time.”

A product of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Lockett became K-State’s first four-year All-American following the 2014 season and is one of just three players in school history to earn four straight all-conference designations. As a senior, he led the nation in punt return average (19.1) and ranked third in total receiving yards (1,515), all-purpose yards (2,296) and punt returns for touchdowns (2) and seventh in receptions (106). He topped the Big 12 in receiving yards and all-purpose yards, bettering the player in second place by 26.6 yards per game in the latter category. He also broke 17 school records, including career marks for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns that were previously held by his father, Kevin. 

The Seahawks knew right away Lockett was a special player. They traded three picks to the Washington Redskins — their fourth, fifth and sixth round picks — to snatch him in the third round, No. 69 overall, in the 2015 draft. 

“What really speaks volumes is that they got me with the purpose of wanting to utilize me,” explained Lockett. “Some teams who go to the Super Bowl and who are capable of doing it every year, they don’t really need players, so they might just pick you because they have to pick someone. But the fact that they picked me with a purpose, to utilize me, that means a lot.”

Lockett said in his first few weeks with the organization, he was working as both returner and receiver and hopes to make an impact at both positions during his professional career.

“I’m still doing both, returner and receiver,” Lockett said. “They obviously want me to be able to perform as a returner, but at the end of the day it’s about what I bring to the table. It’s about me winning a spot. It’s not like the (returner) spot is automatically given to me. They may want me to have it, but I still have to earn it. It’s the same way with receiver. I have to go out and do what I do, then at the end of the day, whatever happens, if I’m just a returner, I’ll be a returner, or if I’m both, it’ll be perfect.”

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