Tyler Lockett was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the pedigree of a top-flight athlete. His father, Kevin, and his uncle, Aaron, were both standout receivers at Kansas State University, appearing in the Top 5 of the school’s all-time receiving list.
Tyler was an outstanding athlete as well, starring on the football field, track and basketball court. He was a state champion in basketball at Booker T. Washington High School, as well as one of Oklahoma’s top sprinters—capable of running a sub-11 second 100m dash and a 200m under the 22 second mark. Tyler he didn’t just get his athleticism from the Lockett men: His mother, Nicole Edwards, was a sprinter as well. Tyler credits his mom for not only instilling faith in him, but also for giving him yet another dash of athletic ability in his blood.
“She was an athlete herself,” Tyler said of his mom. “She was a track star and basketball star, so she understands the mental part of the game. She’s always telling me, ‘Hey, God is with you. Just believe. Don’t get nervous.’”
The Tulsa speedster really let his God-given talents show on the gridiron. Tyler was named All-State as a cornerback and a receiver, earning 3-star ratings on the national recruiting scene. After leading Booker T. Washington to a state title and stellar 13-1 record his senior year, he chose to follow in the footsteps of the two greatest male role models in his life and play football for Bill Snyder at K-State.
Tyler made massive additions to the Lockett Family legacy in his time at K-State.
Every Lockett A Wildcatt
Despite his lack of size, No. 16 made his name known national in Year 1 at KSU. He returned two kicks for touchdowns as a freshman and was destined for more—but his season was cut short by a scary injury. He was amid the best game of his young career—a 315 all-purpose-yard effort against Oklahoma State when he left with a lacerated kidney—marking an early end to his season.
Tyler was named All-Big 12 Conference and an All-American as a return man, and he fortunately made a full recovery in the offseason. He earned another All-American nod the following year, the second step to becoming the first four-year All-American in K-State’s history. No. 16 only improved as his college career continued. Year 3 was highlighted by the greatest all-purpose performance in school history: a 440-yard output against Oklahoma, which bested the previous mark held by Darren Sproles and Brandon Banks; and slotted TL No. 5 in NCAA history.
When his senior year rolled around, Big 12 coaches were dreading having to gameplan for No. 16. Tyler went out with a bang, tallying eight 100-yard receiving games, including five straight to close his career. He hit triple digits in all-purpose yards in every game except K-State’s season opener against Stephen F. Austin.
In his four years, Tyler set 17 school records—he even dethroned his father at No. 1 on KSU’s all-time receiving list. In addition to re-writing the record books in Manhattan, Tyler was named a consensus All-American as a senior, was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist and was the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year; part of a litany of awards he received on his way out of school.
But The Rocket wasn’t just NFL-ready on paper—as K-State’s legendary head coach Bill Snyder said, No. 16 had the work ethic and the talent to be great at the next level.
“I have said so many times, he is a self-made man in regards to being an athlete and a football player. When he came here, he couldn’t catch a ball any better than I can and he has worked at it,” Snyder said of Tyler. “He works at it so diligently. When they came off the field, I let him know that I appreciated what he did. It is heartwarming.”
After starring at Kansas State, Tyler wasted no time making his name known at the professional level.
After earning his degree, Tyler looked forward to the draft. With the 69th overall pick, the Seattle Seahawks selected the K-State star in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft—and it didn’t take the Hawks long to realize they got a good one.
In Seattle’s preseason opener against the Denver Broncos, Tyler took a kick back 103 yards for the team’s first touchdown of the year. No. 16 took back a punt for a score in the team’s regular season opener against the St. Louis Rams. He also returned a kick for six in Seattle’s dominant 26-0 win over the Chicago Bears in Week 3.
As his rookie campaign rolled along, Tyler became one of quarterback Russell Wilson’s most trusted options in the passing game. His first receiving touchdown came on Oct. 22 in a 20-3 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Exactly one month later, the Niners came to Seattle, and Tyler came through with a breakout two-touchdown performance to guide his squad to a 29-13 win.
“He’s doing great. He’s right in it. He’s just one of our guys now,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “In the second half of the season, he’s just a regular starter, contributor for us. We count on him making big plays and running down the field, but he’s also a really good route runner, too.”
That big game sparked a critical five-game win streak that essentially punched Seattle’s ticket to the postseason. TL tallied five receiving touchdowns in that span, along with 335 receiving yards on 25 receptions. In the second round of the playoffs, Tyler came through with a clutch receiving touchdown to help lead a near-comeback by the Hawks—but the rally fell just short in a 31-24 defeat to the Carolina Panthers.
Tyler totaled 664 receiving yards and six touchdowns in a tremendous first season. No. 16 was named to the All-Rookie team and was the only rookie named All-Pro by the Associated Press. Now looking forward to Year 2, he figures to be an even bigger part of the Seattle passing game and a potential 1,000-yard receiver as the Hawks look to make their way back to the Super Bowl.
“He’s a legit player for us, and he’s right in the middle of all our planning and all of our preparation,” Carroll said during the 2016 offseason. “You have to deal with him in our offense. He’s going to be moved around to a lot. He’ll be in a lot of different spots. He can do everything. We’re really pumped about him coming back. He looks so confident, which he always has. We had to make him prove it a little bit. But once we got a hold of the kind of dynamic player that he is, we used the heck out of him, and he’s going to get a lot of play time, a lot of stuff happening his way.”