After the Kansas State Wildcats ended their 11-year bowl drought at the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl on Dec. 28, there were two longtime friends sharing the spotlight on the field. K-State junior wide receiver Tyler Lockett was named offensive player of the game, while K-State sophomore safety Dante Barnett was tabbed as the defensive player of the game.
“I would say great,” Barnett said about his feelings after the game. “God works in mysterious ways. We never looked at it like that. But seeing us both up there at the same time really made us happy.”
Sports can create friendships that last a lifetime. Lockett said he can still remember when Barnett was the guy who could play any position that the team needed him to play in fifth grade.
“Man, it’s an amazing feeling,” Lockett said. “I remember playing with Dante since fifth grade. Just being able to grow up with him and hang out with him, even with football, I got to see him grow up, mature.”
The two grew up together in Tulsa, Okla. as not only teammates, but good friends as well. Winning state titles on both the gridiron and the hard courts, the two found success in everything they did together. After their time was done at Booker T. Washington high school, both decided to bring their talents to Manhattan to play for Bill Snyder as Wildcats. Lockett was the third member of his family to put on the Wildcat jersey and as his father Kevin Lockett said, the wide receiver bled purple from the time he was born. Barnett said he decided to follow his longtime friend.
Lockett has made an immediate impact for the Wildcats, starting the last three season including 2011 as a true freshman. This year, Barnett started every game for K-State. The Booker T. alums both found themselves as critical parts of the 2013 K-State Wildcat football team.
In the 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Lockett and Barnett capped off their strong seasons with impressive performances. The talented wideout caught 10 passes for 116 yards and three touchdowns, tormenting the Wolverine defense from start to finish. Lockett tied a K-State bowl record with his three touchdown performance and his 10 catches set a school bowl record.
Barnett finished with eight total tackles and added an interception along with a 51 yard return after the catch. The sophomore was the anchor for the Wildcat defense that kept the Michigan Wolverines out of the end zone until there was only 75 seconds left on the clock.
Lockett will have one season left of eligibly while Barnett will have two. There is no doubt that even when their time on the gridiron together is done, the Tulsa natives will remain close.
“I thank God for this relationship,” Lockett said. “I just love this dude. He’s my brother.”