Photo via tulsahurricane.com

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“And I’m goin’ out like Scarface in his last scene A legend, what that mean? ”

It was an inspirational quote that Tulsa receiver Keevan Lucas posted on social media before the Miami Beach Bowl, a J. Cole lyric that encapsulated his entire college career with the imagery of Tony Montana fearlessly defending his legacy against swarming enemies. The Abilene High graduate went out on his own terms, tying the most receiving touchdowns in Tulsa history (32) with hall-of-famer Steve Largent and Heisman runner-up Howard Twilley.

In the 55-10 romp or Central Michigan, Lucas ended his season with 1,435 receiving yards; the total contributed to the record for the most efficient offense in FBS history: two rushers account for 1,000+ rushing yards, two receivers had 1,000+ receiving yards, and the quarterback threw for 3,000+ yards – a first in college football.

The perseverance is a characteristic that separates Lucas from most collegiate athletes. When he was a freshman at Abilene High, he lost his mother to a brain aneurysm and grandmother to a heart attack and a stroke within the same week. Just fourteen years old, he was taken in by his aunt and uncle, and was encouraged to continue playing in their memory. Through his two years as a starter, Lucas had winning recordings in his junior (10-4) and senior (12-1) seasons respectively, joining Tulsa as an early enrollee and finishing with the Abilene Eagles for 1,825 yards and 14 touchdowns in 21 career games.

However, his struggles continued: In both his senior year of high school and his junior year of college, he endured injuries that sidelined him for the season. First, he suffered a torn meniscus after seven games as a senior in Abilene. Then, after four games into his third year with Tulsa, he tore his patella tendon against Houston – totaling 409 receiving yards on the season.

Ten months of rehabbing later saw Lucas return to the gridiron in his last year as a collegiate athlete, impressing with career highs in touchdown catches (15) and receiving yards per completion (14.6) through a full season. His efforts accumulated in a Miami Beach Bowl win – the first Hurricanes postseason win with coach Philip Montgomery and the first Bowl victory since 2012.

The final words his mother told him were, “Be good and graduate” – a constant reminder of his purpose at Tulsa. Lucas will accomplish his mother’s wish and will be eligible for the 2017 NFL Draft, where most pundits see him as a sleeper pick. His younger brother, Manvel receiver Keylon Stokes, will follow in Keevan’s footsteps to Tulsa, aspiring to fulfill the receiver legacy his older brother leaves behind.

 

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