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16 DAYS TO KICKOFF: Tyler Lockett

Barring further injuries, say hello to our starting wide receivers, kickoff returners and trick play specialists in 2012.
Barring further injuries, say hello to our starting wide receivers, kickoff returners and trick play specialists in 2012.

Goal No. 16: RESPONSIBILITY. You are responsible for your own performance.


#16 Tyler Lockett
True Sophomore
5-11 | 175
Tulsa, Okla.


Position: Wide Receiver

Previous College: None

Projection: Starter

Status: On Scholarship

Tyler Lockett (b. Sept. 28, 1992) was previewed last summer mostly by way of reference to his more famous father and uncle. Well, no more. He made enough of a name for himself last season that his own legend is all I'll discuss.

Lockett has been described as a combination of his father's uncanny pass-catching abilities, and his uncle's build, speed and shiftiness — and he actually might have exceeded the hype in 2011.

After all, the true freshman was named a first-team Walter Camp All-American as a kick returner after averaging 35.2 yards per kick return, which would have led the nation had he returned enough kickoffs to qualify nationally.

Lockett took kickoffs back for touchdowns in consecutive weeks at Texas Tech and at Kansas to become the first player in school history to accomplish the feat.

He also caught 18 passes for 246 yards (although it certainly seemed like a lot more) before an injury sidelined him for the final four games.

Probably more than any other player on the roster, I can't wait to see that No. 16 jersey take the field again this fall.

We haven't seen him play, after all, since that electric, earth-shaking night in Stillwater when he introduced himself to Kirk Herbstreit and a national audience that watched his every more with nervous anticipation.

And all he did was run back a crucial kickoff to put us in position in the red zone when we most desperately needed it ... with a freaking lacerated spleen kidney, no less. And then, just like Keyser Soze, Lockett was gone.

To compound his difficulties, reports that he was back to full strength in the spring could not be confirmed by the public at-large due to a "soft tissue injury" that kept him out of the spring game. Let's hope that's the last of that.

Lockett enters 2012 as a preseason All-American, and a All-Big 12 honoree at kick returner by Phil Steele and Athlon.

He also was rated the eighth-best all-purpose player in the nation and named a preseason All-Big 12 pick by Lindy's.