From an early age, David Lockwood saw something special in his youngest son, Ty.
However, he saw it on a basketball court.
Ty played top-flight AAU basketball growing up in the Chicago area as his primary focus and just played football for a youth program on the side. It wasn’t until the family moved to Tennessee that football became a priority in Ty’s life.
The Lockwoods relocated to Tennessee in 2020 and Ty enrolled with Independence. This summer and fall have been eye-opening experiences for David when it comes to seeing the potential for Ty’s future.
Intense one-on-one driveway basketball games with his father helped make Ty a fierce competitor. David never let Ty win those games growing up. But when Ty finally defeated his father, he followed it up with a successful second season of football. That’s when David realized where his future in the sport lay.
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“He’s always had great hands and has always been quite tall, but I didn’t know football would ever really become his thing,” said David. “When we got here, it kind of started. During and towards the end of his sophomore year, I realized that this is probably his thing and will be his future in athletics.”
Lockwood, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound senior and four-star tight end committed to Alabama, is #3 in the 2022 Dandy Dozen, a collection of the Nashville-area’s top college football prospects, selected by The Tennessean.
Ranked the #9 tight end in the country and #2 prospect in the state according to the 247Sports Composite, Lockwood caught 43 passes for 606 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore. Last season he caught 42 passes for 462 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s definitely a weapon that you can’t train every year unless you’re at IMG Academy,” said Independence coach Scott Stidham. “He’s definitely someone we need to get the ball to and it’s nice to have him on our side because he has a lot of skills and is working really hard to become a great footballer.
“I enjoy being with Ty not only because of that, but because of the person he is.”
From Texas A&M to Ohio to Alabama
Lockwood signed for Ohio State on August 19, 2021, making it their first signing in the Buckeyes 2023 class.
After staying with the Buckeyes for almost a year, Lockwood reversed his decision Tuesday to Alabama after taking a weekend trip to Tuscaloosa that ended with an offer from Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.
Before Alabama and Ohio State, however, there was Texas A&M.
Lockwood has an offer from Texas A&M but has never committed to the Aggies. Instead, he grew up an Aggies fan thanks to his father.
David had a close friend who went to Texas A&M in the ’90s, so he went to College Station and went to Aggies games with him.
Each year they chose the best game on the schedule and attended that game, a tradition they have maintained together for 15 years. David took his family to several games and let his sons experience games attended by about 100,000 people.
“I was addicted to Texas A&M football and Ty just grew up with it,” said David. “We were Texas A&M fans because a college football game at Kyle Field with over 100,000 fans screaming was just amazing. It was something we took on.”
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David will likely get a chance to see his son play at Kyle Field as early as his freshman year, but it will wear a different jersey than the one he grew up wearing.
“It’s really great to think about one day playing Texas A&M and all the other great SEC programs,” Ty said. “Of course, if you live in Tennessee, you’re here in SEC country with Tennessee and Vanderbilt. It’s special because everyone you know down here probably goes to SEC school or at least volunteers for an SEC team, so they’ll probably still get to see me play and that means a lot to me.
“I have classmates who can see me in Alabama and say, ‘Hey, I went to high school with Ty,’ or something. It’s nice because we know so many people here and people at Texas A&M are still like that. It’s great to play them.”
Reach Joe Spears at [email protected] or 731-343-4923. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @joe_spears7.