There's a legacy attached to Tyler Lockett's name. He followed in the footsteps of his father and uncle by attending Kansas State. As a senior, Tyler set 17 school records including all-time receiving yards, a mark previously held by his father Kevin. There's no question he inherited a feel for the game from his dad, but Tyler credit's his mother, Nicole Edwards, for his speed and mental toughness.
"She was an athlete herself," Lockett said. "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.'"
Edwards accompanied Lockett to Seattle for his rookie minicamp. Based on her travel schedule during Lockett's college career as a four-year starter, she'll be making a number of trips to the Northwest this season.
"I think the biggest thing is she's been with me since day one," Lockett said. "She's only missed 2 or 3 games and that was in college."
Lockett's mom was more than just moral support at K-State. She took an active roll in postgame conversations about what needed improvement, along with Lockett's father and uncle who both played in the NFL following successful careers at Kansas State.
"When [my dad] watches the game he's not like a fan just watching the ball," said Lockett. "He sees everything. So to have him, or my uncle, or even my mom know some stuff about the game, to be able to talk to me and help me out, and help me out with the mental part of the game, I think that's what really helps me out."
Lockett thrived in college, due in part to the advice he received from family, but also because of his knack of avoiding big hits, something he learned watching NFL games.
"When I was a little kid we used to watch Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt juke everybody and when [the defense] started coming they started falling and defenses hate that," Lockett said. "I did it in practice and they would hate it but at the end of the day it's about making it throughout the whole entire season, and my receiver coach told me at K-State if you don't have to take a big hit, you don't have to take it. Just fall down and live to fight another day. If it's third and three and you catch a pass, you know you're supposed to fight for it, but if it's first and 10 sometimes there's no point in fighting for it. You have to pick and choose your battles."
"There's so many factors that go into decision making and he displayed all those," said special teams coach Brian Schneider of Lockett's feel for the return game and avoiding unnecessary hits.
That kind of decision-making kept Lockett on the field for four seasons in college. It's one of the characteristics that led the Seahawks to tell him that he was their "number one return guy" in the draft, and it's one of the reasons he could be a difference maker as a rookie in Seattle.
"You don't ever want to throw anything on anybody in terms of expectations," Schneider said. "But from what we've seen and what he's proven over the years, he's dynamic and all he has to do is go out and be who is and who he's always been and he's going to be very impactful."
Lockett won't let the expectations get to him. His mother made sure he was mentally prepared.
"She's excited for me to be at this point because not too many people make it to this point," Lockett said.
And she'll make sure she continues to be there every step of the way.
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