Stepping out of the shadows
K-State WR Lockett becoming his own man
Posted: Sunday December 27, 1998 03:50 PM
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- There's one more to go. Then maybe a certain family in Tulsa will stop humiliating the University of Oklahoma and showing Sooner fans just how far down their football program has gone -- in judgment as well as wins.
First came Kevin, oldest of the pass-catching Lockett brothers. When Kevin graduated from high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, coaches wrote him off as too small and slow even to bother with. So snubbed by the one school he'd always dreamed of playing for, Kevin wound up at Kansas State where he became the Wildcats' all-time leading wide receiver. Now he's playing for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Next came Aaron. Smaller than Kevin, but quicker, he remembers getting a little attention from Oklahoma. But not much.
"I don't know if they recruited me exactly. But they talked to me," he said.
But while Oklahoma dawdled, Kansas State recruited him full-force, and now the 5-foot-7, 155-pounder is the sensational freshman receiver who's given the Wildcats the deep threat they'd been lacking.
Next will be Anthony Johnson, a sure-handed cousin of the Locketts from the same Tulsa high school they starred for. He has committed to the Wildcats and will be a freshman next year.
"I think Oklahoma recruited him. But they changed coaches this year and he said it got pretty confusing as to what exactly was going on there," said Aaron. "But he had a really productive year and I'm really excited that he's coming to Kansas State."
As Purdue's defensive coaches prepare a game plan for Lockett in Tuesday night's Alamo Bowl, they're probably wishing Oklahoma would do a better job of holding on to in-state prospects.
"Lockett is their speed burner," said safety Adrian Beasley, the MVP in Purdue's 33-20 victory over Oklahoma State in last year's Alamo Bowl. "We really have to limit him and not let him get behind us in the secondary."
Lockett did not exactly arrive with a bang. He had only one catch the first three games. Then against Northeast Louisiana in the fourth game, he latched onto six Michael Bishop tosses for a whopping 188 yards, including a school-record 97-yard touchdown play.
Nobody has slowed him down since. He'll go into the Alamo Bowl with 44 catches for 928 yards and six touchdowns.
With Bishop leading an offense that was coming off an 11-1 season, the Wildcats were already blessed with one of the Big 12's top receivers in Darnell McDonald. But when Lockett burst onto the scene, he provided the perfect down-field complement to an already solid passing attack.
"Aaron gives us something we didn't have last year, that vertical speed," said offensive coordinator Ron Hudson. "Because of that, they couldn't put double coverage on Darnell McDonald. If you don't get deep in zone, he can stretch you fast. They've got to protect themselves because of the speed factor."
The Boilermakers, known more for their own high-octane passing attack than an overpowering defense, do not appear to have anybody to match Lockett's speed.
"I don't think so," Hudson said. "But they're smart enough they'll play deep enough and they'll play some zones. I know that for a fact."
Another plus for Lockett is the game will be played on artificial turf.
"I think it does enhance my speed," he said. "I think it will probably give me a little bit of an edge. But I think they'll come prepared. They'll be ready to play."
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