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Aug 24, 2013

TULSA, Okla. - Although Tulsa's top three receivers return to the lineup in 2013, preseason camp was used to identify playmakers and develop depth in the Hurricane receiving corps.

"Keyarris Garrett and Jordan James are really locked in at those outside positions. I've been very happy and pleased with what I've seen all camp from Derek Patterson. He and Keevan Lucas have been playing inside receiver," said Head Coach Bill Blankenship. "We're really hoping that down the road we'll get Thomas (Roberson) back, but he's out for a while."



Garrett and James combined to total 1,413 yards and 11 touchdowns on 108 catches last year. Garrett, named to the Biletnikoff Watch List this year, led the 2012 Hurricane in receptions (67), yards (845) and touchdowns (9) as a true sophomore. James caught 41 passes for 568 yards.

Patterson, who caught only three passes for 29 yards a year ago, has had a solid camp for the Hurricane.

Roberson is expected to miss the early portion of the season. He caught 29 passes for 489 yards and four touchdowns in 2012.

Lucas is a true freshman, but enrolled at Tulsa this past January and participated in spring drills for the Hurricane. He had 56 receptions for 886 yards and seven TDs before his senior season was cut short after seven games due to an injury.

"The top three receivers are experienced. Keevan had a great spring for us. I think, had he not come in the spring, he would have had a hard time being ready to play. But I think that's allowed him to learn what we're doing. He, physically, is very mature. So those four are kind of head and shoulders above everybody else," said Blankenship. "We have good depth - (Zach) Epps and (Chris) Showels and (Conner) Floyd and (Josh) Atkinson - Josh is probably the next guy up after those first four right now. It's a good group. We just need to keep growing it."

Epps and Floyd saw limited playing time at receiver last year, while Atkinson was showing great promise as a true freshman before he suffered a season-ending injury. All three caught at least one pass in 2012. Somewhat of a pleasant surprise, walk-on Chris Showels has turned in a good spring for the Hurricane.

"I like what we're doing so far as a receiving corps. When you have three starters back and some other guys that played, you feel like you're a veteran group coming into this season. Certainly we've started pretty fast. When day one began, we didn't have to go back and teach schemes and fundamentals," said Offensive Coordinator Greg Peterson. "Even though we're emphasizing getting better with the execution on our schemes and improving our fundamentals, guys have an understanding. So, we like where we are at this point."