MANHATTAN, Kan. – Many stars refuse to admit they look at the players they're passing on the slow climb through the record books. They'll speak in platitudes about focusing on the team first, the individual second, and shrug off most of their achievements.
Tyler Lockett knows exactly where he stands in Kansas State's record books.
It isn't for a lack of humility, though. Lockett is about the most humble guy you'll come across. It's simply that he knows quite well whom he just passed on the career yards receiving list this weekend — his uncle, former Kansas State star Aaron Lockett.
He also knows which player he's chasing for first place: his father, Kevin Lockett.
"It's a great achievement, a great accomplishment, but I just look at it like that's an individual thing I can look back on at the end of the season," Lockett said, "but right now, I just want to help us win every game we can."
OK, so he still speaks in platitudes. But the latest of the Lockett family to come through Kansas State may just be the best of them. With four catches for 84 yards in the Wildcats' 58-28 victory over UTEP on Saturday, Lockett climbed to third in school history with 2,469 yards receiving. The Packers' Jordy Nelson is next, followed by his pops with 3,032.
Kevin Lockett makes sure to remind the youngster the record is still a ways off, too.
"He'll say, 'You're still not better than me,'" Tyler Lockett said with a broad grin, "and it'll stay that way unless I beat it."
Even if it's all in jest, his uncle seems to be a bit more receptive to getting shoved down the list. Aaron Lockett made a rare trip back to Kansas State this week, and spent some time with his nephew. In fact, it was Aaron Lockett who pointed out his number would soon topple.
"We haven't talked about that and very seldom do," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said, "but I'm sure it has some meaning for him. I'm quite certain it has some meaning for Aaron and Kevin.
"Excellent family," Snyder added. "Good players, better people."
Tyler Lockett's exploits aren't limited to catching the ball, either.
He returned his first punt for a touchdown on Saturday, only to watch it get called back by a penalty. No matter. He took another one back 58 yards for a touchdown later in the game, and then added a 51-yard return just before halftime that set up another score.
Lockett, who has returned four kickoffs for touchdowns, finished the game with 143 yards on punt returns. That's just 30 yards shy of David Allen's single-game school record.
"Tyler did a nice job of being able to sort and pick his way through," said Snyder, always reticent to lavish too much praise immediately after a game. "He did some excellent things."
Lockett could conceivably hold several other schools records by the time he's done, even though the senior wide receiver has missed games over the years with several minor injuries.
He has 19 touchdown receptions, fourth most behind Nelson, Quincy Morgan and — you guessed it — dear old dad, who caught 26 of them from 1993-96. He also has 160 receptions, trailing Michael Smith, Nelson and Kevin Lockett — though that one might be safe. Kevin Lockett caught 217 passes over his career, back when Kansas State was just becoming a national power.
He's also tied for first in school history with 10 100-yard receiving games.
"It's awesome. It's such a special thing for Tyler," Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters said. "He deserves it because he works so hard."
Given that Lockett refuses to discuss such records, and that Snyder tends to avoid any such talk regardless of the player, leave it to his teammates to puff him up.
"I knew Tyler's first summer here, it didn't take a very long look to know he'd be very good, and he was his freshman year, and better his sophomore year," said former Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, now an assistant on the Wildcats' coaching staff. "He just keeps growing by leaps and bounds, and I don't know if there is a ceiling to his potential."