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DAY 19 REPORT: Position Look at Wide Receiver

Sophomore Keevan Lucas
Sophomore Keevan Lucas
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Aug. 20, 2014

TULSA, Okla. - The young Tulsa receiving corps is bolstered by the return of junior Keyarris Garrett, and more seasoned players at the position. The group is speedier and more athletic than in recent years, and it has shown thus far in preseason camp.

Garrett (6-4, 221), who suffered a season-ending broken leg in the second game of the season a year ago, led the Hurricane receivers as a true sophomore in 2012 with 845 yards and nine touchdowns on 67 receptions. Undoubtedly, he will be looked upon heavily to carry the load at the receiver position, but with his absence last year, the younger players were called upon to get more playing time.



Sophomore Keevan Lucas (5-10, 198), who played as a true freshman, is Tulsa's returning receiver from a year ago as he caught 32 passes for 442 yards and had one touchdown.

"We're young from an experience standpoint," said Head Coach Bill Blankenship. "Keevan, who played for a year, and Keyarris, who has played two full seasons, are fairly experienced now, then three of the guys in the two-deep are fourth-year juniors - Connor Floyd, Zach Epps and Derek Patterson. Josh Atkinson is the in-between guy who hasn't played a lot, and we have a couple of true freshman who are really young - Nigel (Carter) and Bishop (Louie).

"I've been very pleased with the receivers. It's a group that's hungry," said Blankenship. "We're more athletic than we have been. We have some players running by people and we've done it against a good secondary at times. It's encouraging that we're able to spread the field a little more and actually attack different levels of the zone. It remains to be seen though. We have to do it on game night. I do believe we're much better at the receiving corps"

Juniors Derek Patterson (6-0, 190), Conner Floyd (6-0, 202) and Zach Epps (6-4, 210) will be expected to be key targets in the Tulsa offense.

Patterson, a high school quarterback, has settled into the receiver position and last year caught 12 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. The athletic receiver will be looked upon to provide leadership to the receiving corps. Floyd, who provides versatility to the Tulsa offense with his ability to play multiple receiver slots, had nine catches for 91 yards and year ago. Epps, like Garrett, is a tall target for Hurricane quarterbacks.

The four juniors are the elders of the position, which features no seniors on the depth chart.

Sophomore Josh Atkinson (6-2, 195) played in just seven games last year, catching nine passes for 76 yards. He has been plagued by nagging injuries, and received a medical hardship season in 2012 after he showed signs of tremendous ability in his short stint as a true freshman.

Five true freshmen have been added to the Tulsa roster at the receiving corps, and perhaps maybe more than one will have an opportunity to see playing time this season.

Nigel Carter (6-3, 198) had a head start over the other four newcomers when he enrolled last January and participated in spring drills. The local product from McLain High School caught 23 passes for 280 yards and six TDs in just six games as a prep senior, and in his junior year totaled 630 yards and nine touchdowns. He has settled in quote nicely during preseason camp and will be in the rotation for the Hurricane. Another McLain product, Bishop Louie (5-10, 170) joins the Hurricane roster after putting up over 1,000 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns in just seven games his senior season. Louis, too, has impressed during camp and can be expected to see laying time this season.

Justin Hobbs (6-4, 200) gives Tulsa another big target in this incoming class. Under-the-radar in the recruiting process, Hobbs was a tight end for a good portion of his career, but when moved to receiver as a senior he ended the year with 454 yards and four TDs on just 21 receptions.

A pair of Texans, Brodrick Umblance (6-1, 180) and Terrance Ivery (5-8, 175), were both four-year letterwinners at their high schools, Umblance at The Oakridge School and Ivery at Mansfield Legacy. Umblance totaled 2,084 yards and 17 touchdowns in four years as a starter, while Ivery was Mr. All-Purpose - running for 1,296 yards and passing for 1,047 yards as a senior, catching 23 passes for 488 yards as a junior and returning kicks and punting throughout his career.