Class of 2026 defensive back Tay Lockett was thrilled to receive a scholarship offer from University of Arkansas during his March 4 visit but no more than his family in Arkansas and mother, who was born in Little Rock.
Lockett, 6-0, 165 pounds, of San Diego University City High School is on track to being of the top prospects in the nation for his class with more than 30 other scholarship offers from schools like Southern Cal, Penn State, Florida State, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Michigan and Texas A&M.
His mother, seven family members from Arkansas, along with his father and stepfather were attending the Arkansas- Kentucky basketball game when they were escorted to meet coach Sam Pittman at halftime.
"We were at the basketball game, and some of the recruiting people came and got me and my family and we went down to Coach Pittman's office down there," Lockett said. "He brought us all in, and we were just talking, and he told me I had a scholarship to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks and my family was really excited."
His family in Arkansas are all Hog fans and "bleed Razorback red," according to Lockett.
His grandparents live in Conway, and the other five family members also live in Central Arkansas. While his mother was elated about the offer, his grandfather got emotional.
"My grandpa was actually crying," Lockett said. "He was shedding some tears that he didn't want us to see. Just to know I can make them happy by getting an offer from the University of Arkansas really means a lot to me."
Lockett, who was named a first team MaxPreps Freshman All-American, had 92 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 7 interceptions, 9 pass breakups, 5 recovered fumbles and 3 forced fumbles. He also had 9 punt returns for 189 yards.
He acknowledged co-defensive coordinator Marcus Woodson, assistant player personnel Trevor Twehous and other staff members for being hospitable during his Arkansas visit.
"It was definitely a blessing, they just welcomed me and my whole family with open arms and showed nothing but love the whole time we were there," Lockett said. "They all treated us like we were a part of the family."
The vocal, enthusiastic basketball crowd startled Lockett.
"That was insane, I didn't know it would get down like that," Lockett said. "I thought football only, Nah, that's every sport. They go for their Hogs."
Lockett said his family is glued to the TV when the Hogs are playing.
"Everybody watches them on TV," Lockett said. "Me and my dad and my stepdad don't really watch them like that, but everybody else in my family is from Arkansas and they're Razorback fans. Every time they have a game on, it's always going to be Arkansas."
Email Richard Davenport at [email protected]
Tay Lockett highlights