SANTA CLARA — Ricardo Lockette already is Colin Kaepernick's favorite target — at least when it comes to getting home-schooled in NFL terminology while sharing a house 2? miles from the 49ers facility.
"Say if I'm in the shower and he's walking down the hall, he'll yell, 'Hey Lock, what do you have on so-and-so?' And I'll say, 'I've got a go (route),'" Lockette said earlier this week. "It's 24/7 learning, and just making it fun for each other."
Lockette, a member of last season's practice squad, might be the most intriguing candidate to step up on a receiving corps that has lost Michael Crabtree to an Achilles' tear.
Lockette is a big-body target (6-foot-2, 211 pounds), a castoff of the Seattle Seahawks, a college track sprinter and perhaps Kaepernick's closest confidant.
Lockette, 27, has spent the past eight months getting round-the-clock tutoring from Kaepernick, including two months this offseason as they trained in Atlanta with teammates A.J. Jenkins and Chad Hall.
"He's one of the fastest guys on the team, and I've been trying to keep up with him," Kaepernick said of Lockette.
Kaepernick also has found creative ways to help Lockette assimilate the 49ers' vast and complex playbook, and that includes word association for breaking down plays.
"Instead of going through it as if, 'You do this if the safeties do this' — or you know how coaches explain, 'You've got Cover 4, Cover 5' — he says, 'Remember it this way: This car is this color. Your favorite car is a red car. When you hear red, you run a Corvette.'
"That's how we're going to make plays happen — make it as simple as possible and play as hard as we can."
Lockette hasn't seen much playing time the past two seasons. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2011 by the Seahawks, he got promoted from their practice squad for their final three games that year, producing a 44-yard catch in a loss to the 49ers and a 61-yard touchdown reception in the regular-season finale against Arizona.
Lockette had only two catches through last exhibition season with Seattle, and the 49ers signed him to their practice squad while they were stationed in Youngstown, Ohio, last September.
Lockette made several impressive catches on the 49ers' scout team, prompting offensive coordinator Greg Roman to state last December: "The big man, he can run and catch, and he does a great job of pushing it vertical."
Lockette's speed showed on the track during his college days. He reportedly won the Division II national championship in the 200 meters in 2008 while running for Fort Valley State (Ga.).
"I'm sure there's things I can specifically name, but there's just something about him that I'm really fired up about," coach Jim Harbaugh told Comcast SportsNet Bay Area in March. "He's got something else to him, too, besides just the analytical size, strength, speed.
"There's something special there. I just feel it."Lockette considers himself more of an outside receiver, which could be validated by his combination of size and speed. Catching Kaepernick's high-speed passes "was the hard part, but that's far gone," Lockette said.
Learning the 49ers' schemes remains a continuous process. It's one Kaepernick helps by quizzing Lockette in their living room while watching television, or perhaps on their offseason jaunts to Las Vegas or Los Angeles.
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