David Garrett will likely return kicks for Kansas State on Saturday. He is listed as the Wildcats’ main return man on kickoffs next to wide receiver Chris Harper on the team’s depth chart, and he couldn’t be happier about the new responsibility.
“My whole life I’ve been carrying the ball,” said Garrett, a senior defensive back. “When I got here was the first time ever I just played defense.”
It will be interesting to see what Garrett brings to K-State’s return game. He is fast, and given his size (5-foot-8) he should be elusive with the ball in his hands.
He will try to keep it simple.
“Just run,” he said. “Don’t try to dance. Just hit a hole if it’s there.”
But he, along with everyone else who will return kicks and punts this season for the Wildcats, will have a tough act to follow.
A year ago, William Powell returned 21 kickoffs for 726 yards and a touchdown. When Aubrey Quarles filled in for him, he returned 18 kicks for 459 yards and a touchdown. The year before that, Brandon Banks was a threat to score on seemingly every kick.
Can Garrett duplicate those impressive accomplishments? He’s going to try his best.
“If I’m back there I don’t want to be back there and not be great,” Garrett said. “They’ve had all these great returners. If I’m back there and am given the opportunity to do something, that’s what I’m going to do.”
He will be helped by Harper, a junior wide receiver, who like Garrett has never returned a kick at K-State. But Harper is fast and should make the transition fairly easily.
Bill Snyder said four other kick returners will be available — Tysyn Hartman, Ty Zimmerman, Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett.
Hartman and Zimmerman, who play side by side in K-State’s secondary, formed a good return team last year on punts near the end of the season. They combined to return eight punts for 93 yards, with Zimmerman having a highlight 41-yard run at Colorado that nearly resulted in a touchdown.
Zimmerman is listed as the team’s top return man on punts, but Hartman will likely be next to him for returns in order to cover the whole field.
“It kind of depends on what we’re doing,” Snyder said.
Two other options are sophomore wide receiver Tramaine Thompson and freshman wide receiver Tyler Lockett.
Thompson led K-State with 13 punt returns for 96 yards a year ago, and can juke defenders with the best of them. Lockett is one of the Wildcats’ youngest and fastest players.
Much like his father (Kevin) and his uncle (Aaron), who were both standout receivers at K-State, Lockett is learning fast.
“Because of his obvious genetics you’d anticipate him being a good player,” Snyder said. “He’s been very pleasing in regards to how he’s performing. He runs like his uncle and he is catching the ball like his father. I’ve really been pleased with what he’s done.”