By Kellis Robinett

Tribune News Service

MANHATTAN--Tyler Lockett will attend an awards ceremony he has long dreamed of this evening in New York.

The Kansas State senior receiver is one of 16 finalists for the Campbell Trophy, an honor that takes into account a college football player's achievements on the field and academically. It is commonly referred to as the "Academic Heisman Trophy."

As a finalist, he will attend an awards dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. He could also win a piece of hardware that he considers more prestigious than any other award.

"To be nominated for the academic Heisman is not just about athletics. It is everything all rolled into one," Lockett said. "For me, just to be up for that award with a lot of great players is an honor. I heard one of the (previous winners) took 27 hours in a semester. The one who won last year was a teacher and still played football. To hear about the accomplishments these players have had, it just says a lot to be in the running."

The awards trip helped Lockett quickly move past the disappointment of being passed over for other national awards, including the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the nation's top receiver.

Some thought Lockett did enough to be named a finalist for that award after piling up 93 catches for 1,351 yards and nine touchdowns this season. But he didn't make it past the semifinalist stage. On Monday, he was named to the AP All-Big 12 team.

But those statistics, combined with a 3.24 grade-point average in business management, made him a candidate for the Campbell Trophy.

He worked hard in the classroom to qualify for award consideration, earning a 3.43 GPA during the 2013-14 academic year. He is set to graduate later this month.

The thought of one day winning the Campbell Trophy helped him put in long study hours after days filled with football commitments. He has also made time to become a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and put in community service.

"When I got closer to my senior year I had a chance to go up for it," Lockett said, "and my dad was telling me it's something I should put as a goal. When I was in school, I was trying to put myself in the best position to win it. I was struggling at first, but I ended up coming on strong and got over the hump. It really is an honor to now be up for the award."