Three University of Tulsa football student-athletes were named to the fourth annual Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Watch List, it was announced today at the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce East Texas Kick-off Luncheon.
Quarterback Dane Evans and receivers Josh Atkinson and Keevan Lucas, all seniors, were named to the 2016 preseason watch list. Lucas was a semifinalist for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award as a sophomore in 2014 and was named to the preseason watch list in 2015.
The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award recognizes the top offensive player in Division 1 football, while the nominees must have been born in Texas and/or graduated from a Texas High School and/or played at a Texas-based junior college or four-year college.
Born in Dallas, Texas, Atkinson's hometown is Carrollton, Texas and he played high school football at The Oakridge School. Last year, Atkinson caught 76 passes for 1,071 yards for a 14.1 average and five touchdowns in 2015. He had career-highs of 11 receptions for 139 yards and one TD against Virginia Tech in the Camping World Independence Bowl.
A two-year starter for the Golden Hurricane, Atkinson has six career 100+ receiving games, all coming in 2015, and five of those were consecutive.
Although born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, Evans grew up in Texas and calls Sanger, Texas his hometown, while also playing his prep football at Sanger High School. In 2015, Evans completed 62.9-percent of his passes for 4,332 yards and 25 TDs for the second-best passing season in school history. He ranked first in the American Athletic Conference for passing yards per game (333.2) and total offense (332.5), and third in passing efficiency (151.6).
Evans ranked among the NCAA leaders in 2015 for passing yards per game (7th), passing yards (8th), passing yards per completion (11th), total offense (11th), pass efficiency (20th), passing TDs (26th) and points responsible for (33rd).
Lucas, who is from Abilene, Texas and played his prep football at Abilene High School, returns to the Tulsa lineup this year after missing most of the 2015 season with an injury.
In 2014, Lucas led Tulsa in receiving yards and was off to a solid start in 2015 before a knee injury sidelined him in the fourth game. In 2015, Lucas averaged 102.2 yards and five TDs in those first four games after catching 101 passes for 1,219 yards, 11 touchdowns and 101.6 yards per game in 2014.
The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award-Winner must exhibit the enduring characteristics that define Earl Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community and tenacity; specifically tenacity to persist and determination to overcome adversity and injury in pursuit of reaching goals.
The Watch List announced today will be narrowed to up to 16 semifinalists in November and then up to 5 finalists in December. The finalists will be brought to Tyler, Texas, for The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Banquet scheduled for January 11, 2017.