Keylon Stokes

TU_BLA

I.T.S. Legend
Gold Member
Mar 9, 2012
24,346
9,980
113
Tulsa, OK
Goat 🐐
Perspective. He played 3 more seasons/partial seasons than Twilley did. I'm not saying he's not a great player and one of the all time best WR at TU, but subjectively, he wasn't the best WR to play at TU and I'd hesitate to have him even in the top 3 putting him behind guys like his brother, Keyarris Garrett, and Chris Penn (why does everyone forget about how good Chris Penn was at TU? He caught over 100 balls his SR season and was a 3rd round pick of the Chiefs...where he played a lot AND caught passes from Joe Montana for a season). I'd even put Brennan Marion in front of Keylon when ranking them subjectively. And notice Largent isn't on this list. He didn't become a great WR until he got to the NFL.

Sure, it's easier to rank things based on stats alone but that's not telling a full story is it? Not that Keylon doesn't deserve this honor...he absolutely does based on the things he did this season. He was great this year.
 

TU 1978

I.T.S. University President
Gold Member
Jan 30, 2009
10,735
3,980
113
We need to divide the 🐐 from the 🐏
 

Larry Lewis

ITS Senior Writer
Staff
Jun 19, 2005
1,012
1,298
113
Perspective. He played 3 more seasons/partial seasons than Twilley did. I'm not saying he's not a great player and one of the all time best WR at TU, but subjectively, he wasn't the best WR to play at TU and I'd hesitate to have him even in the top 3 putting him behind guys like his brother, Keyarris Garrett, and Chris Penn (why does everyone forget about how good Chris Penn was at TU? He caught over 100 balls his SR season and was a 3rd round pick of the Chiefs...where he played a lot AND caught passes from Joe Montana for a season). I'd even put Brennan Marion in front of Keylon when ranking them subjectively. And notice Largent isn't on this list. He didn't become a great WR until he got to the NFL.

Sure, it's easier to rank things based on stats alone but that's not telling a full story is it? Not that Keylon doesn't deserve this honor...he absolutely does based on the things he did this season. He was great this year.
Good analysis, but I have to disagree with you about Largent. He really was great at TU. Yes his numbers don't match todays pass happy numbers, but 1,000 yards in 11 games in 1975 would be like 1,500 yards today, in my opinion. People didn't pass that much back then. Which makes Twilley's numbers astronomical. Twilley's NCAA records stood for 30 years.

I was absolutely wowed by Largent at TU. I still remember a diving catch he made in the back of the north end zone.

Dan Bitson to me is the best I've seen, by far, and that starts from 1970. So, from 1970-Present, I would rank their TU careers at WR as:

1. Dan Bitson
2. Chris Penn
3. Steve Largent
4. Brennan Marion
5. Damaris Johnson
6. Keylon Stokes
6. Keevan Lucas
8. Keyarris Garrett
9. Drew Pearson
10. Rickey Watts

I know, people will think I'm ranking Pearson and Watts because of their pro careers. However, Pearson was the driving force behind the 21-20 upset win at No. 7 Arkansas in 1971 when TU overcame the 20-0 deficit in the 4th quarter. His 33 catches for 690 as a senior in 1972 would probably be the equivalent of almost double that today.

Dave Rader was throwing to Watts on a forgotten 9-2 team in 1978 that was really, really good.

Another receiver people forget is Paul Johns. Like Watts, played under John Cooper, so numbers not great. However, when he got the chance, he made clutch catches. He had a good pro career for Seattle, starting at receiver with Largent at Seattle for a few years before a neck injury ended his career. Started on the Seattle team that made the 1983 AFC Championship game.

Of course, when ranking all-time, Twilley is way above the rest at TU.

And I've heard the stories of Sax Judd who caught passes from Glenn Dobbs. Judd was the 17th pick overall (3rd round since NFL had so few teams then) in the 1944 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. He and Dobbs (3rd pick overall 1943 Cardinals) both played in the rival AAFC and did well in that league - Cards must have been really cheap paying. The AAFC with the Cleveland Browns, 49ers, merged with the NFL in 1950.
 

TU_BLA

I.T.S. Legend
Gold Member
Mar 9, 2012
24,346
9,980
113
Tulsa, OK
Good analysis, but I have to disagree with you about Largent. He really was great at TU. Yes his numbers don't match todays pass happy numbers, but 1,000 yards in 11 games in 1975 would be like 1,500 yards today, in my opinion. People didn't pass that much back then. Which makes Twilley's numbers astronomical. Twilley's NCAA records stood for 30 years.

I was absolutely wowed by Largent at TU. I still remember a diving catch he made in the back of the north end zone.

Dan Bitson to me is the best I've seen, by far, and that starts from 1970. So, from 1970-Present, I would rank their TU careers at WR as:

1. Dan Bitson
2. Chris Penn
3. Steve Largent
4. Brennan Marion
5. Damaris Johnson
6. Keylon Stokes
6. Keevan Lucas
8. Keyarris Garrett
9. Drew Pearson
10. Rickey Watts

I know, people will think I'm ranking Pearson and Watts because of their pro careers. However, Pearson was the driving force behind the 21-20 upset win at No. 7 Arkansas in 1971 when TU overcame the 20-0 deficit in the 4th quarter. His 33 catches for 690 as a senior in 1972 would probably be the equivalent of almost double that today.

Dave Rader was throwing to Watts on a forgotten 9-2 team in 1978 that was really, really good.

Another receiver people forget is Paul Johns. Like Watts, played under John Cooper, so numbers not great. However, when he got the chance, he made clutch catches. He had a good pro career for Seattle, starting at receiver with Largent at Seattle for a few years before a neck injury ended his career. Started on the Seattle team that made the 1983 AFC Championship game.

Of course, when ranking all-time, Twilley is way above the rest at TU.

And I've heard the stories of Sax Judd who caught passes from Glenn Dobbs. Judd was the 17th pick overall (3rd round since NFL had so few teams then) in the 1944 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. He and Dobbs (3rd pick overall 1943 Cardinals) both played in the rival AAFC and did well in that league - Cards must have been really cheap paying. The AAFC with the Cleveland Browns, 49ers, merged with the NFL in 1950.
You have seen way more football at Skelly than I have...I only got to Tulsa in 1992 and that was the year Penn sat out for academic reasons. He had every route in him and could beat any defender for a ball he could get his hands on. I wish I could have seen Bitson play...my friends at TU said he was astonishing. I'm not sure I've seen many Largent highlights at TU which is why I have a limited capacity to rank him. I have seen some old Twilley footage which is weird (and I've met Twilley a few times as he used to come in and speak about faith to the Wesley Foundation students just about every year).

Brennan did amazing things at TU but he wasn't quite a polished route runner...or maybe he didn't get asked to run those shorter routes. I just remember the 97 yarder vs UTEP where it was like 3rd and 9 or something, UTEP was in a 3 deep with 3 safeties over the top and I think everyone in the stadium knew the ball was going long to Marion...and they still couldn't get a defender high enough to stop it. I think he caught the ball about 4 yards beyond the defenders at about UTEP's 45 and it was game over. I think that was the 70-30 TU win (I'm going on memory).

And I 100% get your point that WRs back in the day were more hampered by the style of offenses being run (heavy run first) than they were by their abilities. And today's fans seem to be recent past myopic and they fail to look beyond the last 5-10 years and then do a proper comparison like you did.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Larry Lewis

Gmoney4WW

I.T.S. Legend
Gold Member
Jul 4, 2007
23,050
8,804
113
Good analysis, but I have to disagree with you about Largent. He really was great at TU. Yes his numbers don't match todays pass happy numbers, but 1,000 yards in 11 games in 1975 would be like 1,500 yards today, in my opinion. People didn't pass that much back then. Which makes Twilley's numbers astronomical. Twilley's NCAA records stood for 30 years.

I was absolutely wowed by Largent at TU. I still remember a diving catch he made in the back of the north end zone.

Dan Bitson to me is the best I've seen, by far, and that starts from 1970. So, from 1970-Present, I would rank their TU careers at WR as:

1. Dan Bitson
2. Chris Penn
3. Steve Largent
4. Brennan Marion
5. Damaris Johnson
6. Keylon Stokes
6. Keevan Lucas
8. Keyarris Garrett
9. Drew Pearson
10. Rickey Watts

I know, people will think I'm ranking Pearson and Watts because of their pro careers. However, Pearson was the driving force behind the 21-20 upset win at No. 7 Arkansas in 1971 when TU overcame the 20-0 deficit in the 4th quarter. His 33 catches for 690 as a senior in 1972 would probably be the equivalent of almost double that today.

Dave Rader was throwing to Watts on a forgotten 9-2 team in 1978 that was really, really good.

Another receiver people forget is Paul Johns. Like Watts, played under John Cooper, so numbers not great. However, when he got the chance, he made clutch catches. He had a good pro career for Seattle, starting at receiver with Largent at Seattle for a few years before a neck injury ended his career. Started on the Seattle team that made the 1983 AFC Championship game.

Of course, when ranking all-time, Twilley is way above the rest at TU.

And I've heard the stories of Sax Judd who caught passes from Glenn Dobbs. Judd was the 17th pick overall (3rd round since NFL had so few teams then) in the 1944 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. He and Dobbs (3rd pick overall 1943 Cardinals) both played in the rival AAFC and did well in that league - Cards must have been really cheap paying. The AAFC with the Cleveland Browns, 49ers, merged with the NFL in 1950.
Plus you have to think of the receiving core around Garrett and Keevan. The ball got spread around more for them than Keylon.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Larry Lewis

HuffyCane

I.T.S. Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Dec 25, 2004
17,168
10,012
113
It would be interesting to see where he would be statistically ranked if we deducted his yardage from catches initially made at or behind the line of scrimmage.

It’s not how far you run or how many tackles you break that makes you a great receivers it’s the balls you catch, especially in clutch situations or when you know you will get hit. A fair portion of Stoke’s output were undefended “wide hand offs”.

He ranks first in stats to me. He’s the leader. But he’s not even in my Top 10 for best receiver. Might not even make that Top 10 list in the past 15 years.

Great player. Not taking anything away from him. But we’ve had a lot of greats and many greater.
 

Bill Lowery

ITS Recruiting Analyst
Staff
Sep 29, 2001
6,641
5,629
113
Good analysis, but I have to disagree with you about Largent. He really was great at TU. Yes his numbers don't match todays pass happy numbers, but 1,000 yards in 11 games in 1975 would be like 1,500 yards today, in my opinion. People didn't pass that much back then. Which makes Twilley's numbers astronomical. Twilley's NCAA records stood for 30 years.

I was absolutely wowed by Largent at TU. I still remember a diving catch he made in the back of the north end zone.

Dan Bitson to me is the best I've seen, by far, and that starts from 1970. So, from 1970-Present, I would rank their TU careers at WR as:

1. Dan Bitson
2. Chris Penn
3. Steve Largent
4. Brennan Marion
5. Damaris Johnson
6. Keylon Stokes
6. Keevan Lucas
8. Keyarris Garrett
9. Drew Pearson
10. Rickey Watts

I know, people will think I'm ranking Pearson and Watts because of their pro careers. However, Pearson was the driving force behind the 21-20 upset win at No. 7 Arkansas in 1971 when TU overcame the 20-0 deficit in the 4th quarter. His 33 catches for 690 as a senior in 1972 would probably be the equivalent of almost double that today.

Dave Rader was throwing to Watts on a forgotten 9-2 team in 1978 that was really, really good.

Another receiver people forget is Paul Johns. Like Watts, played under John Cooper, so numbers not great. However, when he got the chance, he made clutch catches. He had a good pro career for Seattle, starting at receiver with Largent at Seattle for a few years before a neck injury ended his career. Started on the Seattle team that made the 1983 AFC Championship game.

Of course, when ranking all-time, Twilley is way above the rest at TU.

And I've heard the stories of Sax Judd who caught passes from Glenn Dobbs. Judd was the 17th pick overall (3rd round since NFL had so few teams then) in the 1944 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. He and Dobbs (3rd pick overall 1943 Cardinals) both played in the rival AAFC and did well in that league - Cards must have been really cheap paying. The AAFC with the Cleveland Browns, 49ers, merged with the NFL in 1950.
Larry, I know you’ve mentioned players you’ve seen/followed since the 70’s but I wanted your thoughts on 2 guys I watched while at TU. IMO, they were outstanding WR’s.

Granted, these 2 played when Tulsa football was called “The Airial Circus” by some and had QB’s like Mike Stripling, the Dobbs boys, Greg Barton and Rick Arrington. But, we had 2 outstanding receivers in Rick Eber and Harry Wood.

Eber:
1966 10 games, 41 catches, 734 yds, 17.9 yds/catch, 3 td’s
1967 10 games, 78 catches, 1,168 yds, 15 yds/catch, 12 td’s
Drafted by the Falcons, played 1 yr, 11 catches, 164 yds, 1 TD

Wood
1966 10 games, 30 catches, 338 yds, 16.4 yds/catch, 5 tds
1967 10 games, 53 catches, 838 yds, 15.8 yds/catch, 10 tds
1968 10 games, 65 catches, 988 yds, 15.5 yds/catch, 5 yds

I was at the game against Idaho State in 1967. We won 58-0 and set receiving records that still stand today.

TWO FOR 300
It's happened only once in the history of college football ––– two receivers each catching passes for 300+ yards in the same game –– and the year was 1967. The school was The University of Tulsa.

On October 7, 1967, Tulsa hosted Idaho State at Skelly Stadium and went on for a 58-0 victory. The defense had an outstanding performance for the Hurricane, but the story of the game was Golden Hurricane receivers Rick Eber and Harry Wood combining for 640 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns on 33 receptions.

Eber caught 20 passes for 322 yards and 3 TDs, while Wood caught 13 passes for 318 yards and also had 3 touchdown receptions.

That record-setting performance still stands today as an NCAA FBS record.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Larry Lewis

TU1NNJ

I.T.S. Offensive Coordinator
Gold Member
Sep 23, 2004
5,109
3,237
113
Also in the 60’s I believe it was a 10 game season, very few bowls and Freshman either weren’t allowed to play (not sure when that changed) or generally played on the Golden Gaels. The 70’s were 11 game season’s Freshmen could play but still very few bowls. All of these guys on the list and others were excellent receivers. As for Stokes and the more recent guys they play against faster and physically stronger players than in the past. Each era gave us some great memories but they were different and it really is hard to compare players against each other considering those factors. I am glad I got see each era and play with some of those listed.
 

Larry Lewis

ITS Senior Writer
Staff
Jun 19, 2005
1,012
1,298
113
Larry, I know you’ve mentioned players you’ve seen/followed since the 70’s but I wanted your thoughts on 2 guys I watched while at TU. IMO, they were outstanding WR’s.

Granted, these 2 played when Tulsa football was called “The Airial Circus” by some and had QB’s like Mike Stripling, the Dobbs boys, Greg Barton and Rick Arrington. But, we had 2 outstanding receivers in Rick Eber and Harry Wood.

Eber:
1966 10 games, 41 catches, 734 yds, 17.9 yds/catch, 3 td’s
1967 10 games, 78 catches, 1,168 yds, 15 yds/catch, 12 td’s
Drafted by the Falcons, played 1 yr, 11 catches, 164 yds, 1 TD

Wood
1966 10 games, 30 catches, 338 yds, 16.4 yds/catch, 5 tds
1967 10 games, 53 catches, 838 yds, 15.8 yds/catch, 10 tds
1968 10 games, 65 catches, 988 yds, 15.5 yds/catch, 5 yds

I was at the game against Idaho State in 1967. We won 58-0 and set receiving records that still stand today.

TWO FOR 300
It's happened only once in the history of college football ––– two receivers each catching passes for 300+ yards in the same game –– and the year was 1967. The school was The University of Tulsa.

On October 7, 1967, Tulsa hosted Idaho State at Skelly Stadium and went on for a 58-0 victory. The defense had an outstanding performance for the Hurricane, but the story of the game was Golden Hurricane receivers Rick Eber and Harry Wood combining for 640 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns on 33 receptions.

Eber caught 20 passes for 322 yards and 3 TDs, while Wood caught 13 passes for 318 yards and also had 3 touchdown receptions.

That record-setting performance still stands today as an NCAA FBS record.
I wish I had been old enough to see that Wood and Eber game. That has fascinated me for a long time. Incredible numbers for 2 receivers in the same game.

The Arkansas win from 1967 fascinates me as well. Who was the main QB in that game? Did Dobbs just rotate QB's that year?

I heard stories about how the team tried to eat at a restaurant in Arkansas on the way home and they refused to serve them. I've always thought that was because they couldn't stand TU beating them. But TU did have African-American players on the team, and Ark didn't, so maybe that was an excuse? Who knows?

Eber and Wood would rank in the top 20 in school history, I would think. A lot of good receivers, so top 10 would be too high, probably. But they must have been incredible.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TU 1978

Larry Lewis

ITS Senior Writer
Staff
Jun 19, 2005
1,012
1,298
113
Also in the 60’s I believe it was a 10 game season, very few bowls and Freshman either weren’t allowed to play (not sure when that changed) or generally played on the Golden Gaels. The 70’s were 11 game season’s Freshmen could play but still very few bowls. All of these guys on the list and others were excellent receivers. As for Stokes and the more recent guys they play against faster and physically stronger players than in the past. Each era gave us some great memories but they were different and it really is hard to compare players against each other considering those factors. I am glad I got see each era and play with some of those listed.
Freshmen became eligible to play in the early 70's. Maybe 73 or 74. Largent played only 3 years from 73-75, so he sat out in 72. I remember freshmen basketball players playing in 74. The crosstown school had a great one.

You really can't compare stats well from one era to another. Today's stats are inflated, though. 300 yard passing games happen all the time. Games are often like arena football in scoring.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TU1NNJ and TU 1978

Henry Kendall

I.T.S. Head Coach
Gold Member
Dec 3, 2003
6,842
5,553
113
Thank you Larry and everyone for the history discussion. It's fascinating, and I am in awe of your memory of TU football.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Larry Lewis

TU 1978

I.T.S. University President
Gold Member
Jan 30, 2009
10,735
3,980
113
Growing up at Skelly in the 60s I was fortunate to see all the receivers we had during that time - Twilley, Wood and Eber stand out in my memories along with the quarterbacks we had those years.

The defensive players I recall were Willie Townes and Charlie Brown.
 

Larry Lewis

ITS Senior Writer
Staff
Jun 19, 2005
1,012
1,298
113
You have seen way more football at Skelly than I have...I only got to Tulsa in 1992 and that was the year Penn sat out for academic reasons. He had every route in him and could beat any defender for a ball he could get his hands on. I wish I could have seen Bitson play...my friends at TU said he was astonishing. I'm not sure I've seen many Largent highlights at TU which is why I have a limited capacity to rank him. I have seen some old Twilley footage which is weird (and I've met Twilley a few times as he used to come in and speak about faith to the Wesley Foundation students just about every year).

Brennan did amazing things at TU but he wasn't quite a polished route runner...or maybe he didn't get asked to run those shorter routes. I just remember the 97 yarder vs UTEP where it was like 3rd and 9 or something, UTEP was in a 3 deep with 3 safeties over the top and I think everyone in the stadium knew the ball was going long to Marion...and they still couldn't get a defender high enough to stop it. I think he caught the ball about 4 yards beyond the defenders at about UTEP's 45 and it was game over. I think that was the 70-30 TU win (I'm going on memory).

And I 100% get your point that WRs back in the day were more hampered by the style of offenses being run (heavy run first) than they were by their abilities. And today's fans seem to be recent past myopic and they fail to look beyond the last 5-10 years and then do a proper comparison like you did.
Bitson was just an unreal player. And a terrific guy. I've been lucky enough to get to know him. He had some good stories to tell. Terrific influence on youth.

I remember that 97 yarder Marion caught against UTEP. Just amazing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TU1NNJ

Cane1963

I.T.S. Redshirt Freshman
Nov 18, 2022
25
32
13
Parents both went to TU ...grew up a TU fan... curse and a blessing lol..
Taught me patience and an appreciation for when things go well ...my dad and my grandpa took me to two a days in the late 60's

Players practicing on gravel..
Not many water breaks
...I got hooked on salt tablets


Seen or heard every game since...of the ones I can remember well...in college.. Bitson Penn...and Damaris J .
 

Lumpuckeroo

I.T.S. Junior
Oct 5, 2015
731
514
93
I wish I had been old enough to see that Wood and Eber game. That has fascinated me for a long time. Incredible numbers for 2 receivers in the same game.

The Arkansas win from 1967 fascinates me as well. Who was the main QB in that game? Did Dobbs just rotate QB's that year?

I heard stories about how the team tried to eat at a restaurant in Arkansas on the way home and they refused to serve them. I've always thought that was because they couldn't stand TU beating them. But TU did have African-American players on the team, and Ark didn't, so maybe that was an excuse? Who knows?

Eber and Wood would rank in the top 20 in school history, I would think. A lot of good receivers, so top 10 would be too high, probably. But they must have been incredible.
Mike Stripling was the QB against Arkansas, I believe TU won 14-7 .
I always liked Neal Swinney in 64 & 65 , when teams tried to double Twilley they would
throw deep to Neal .
 

astonmartin708

I.T.S. Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Apr 17, 2012
16,462
5,515
113
Good analysis, but I have to disagree with you about Largent. He really was great at TU. Yes his numbers don't match todays pass happy numbers, but 1,000 yards in 11 games in 1975 would be like 1,500 yards today, in my opinion. People didn't pass that much back then. Which makes Twilley's numbers astronomical. Twilley's NCAA records stood for 30 years.

I was absolutely wowed by Largent at TU. I still remember a diving catch he made in the back of the north end zone.

Dan Bitson to me is the best I've seen, by far, and that starts from 1970. So, from 1970-Present, I would rank their TU careers at WR as:

1. Dan Bitson
2. Chris Penn
3. Steve Largent
4. Brennan Marion
5. Damaris Johnson
6. Keylon Stokes
6. Keevan Lucas
8. Keyarris Garrett
9. Drew Pearson
10. Rickey Watts

I know, people will think I'm ranking Pearson and Watts because of their pro careers. However, Pearson was the driving force behind the 21-20 upset win at No. 7 Arkansas in 1971 when TU overcame the 20-0 deficit in the 4th quarter. His 33 catches for 690 as a senior in 1972 would probably be the equivalent of almost double that today.

Dave Rader was throwing to Watts on a forgotten 9-2 team in 1978 that was really, really good.

Another receiver people forget is Paul Johns. Like Watts, played under John Cooper, so numbers not great. However, when he got the chance, he made clutch catches. He had a good pro career for Seattle, starting at receiver with Largent at Seattle for a few years before a neck injury ended his career. Started on the Seattle team that made the 1983 AFC Championship game.

Of course, when ranking all-time, Twilley is way above the rest at TU.

And I've heard the stories of Sax Judd who caught passes from Glenn Dobbs. Judd was the 17th pick overall (3rd round since NFL had so few teams then) in the 1944 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. He and Dobbs (3rd pick overall 1943 Cardinals) both played in the rival AAFC and did well in that league - Cards must have been really cheap paying. The AAFC with the Cleveland Browns, 49ers, merged with the NFL in 1950.
I don’t think Damaris Johnson deserves to be that high as a pure receiver. What made him extra special was the danger he posed in the return game. Also the fact that he screwed the team over with his indiscretions wasn’t very fun either.
 

TU Sepp

I.T.S. Athletic Director
Feb 8, 2004
8,308
937
113
When looking at the GOAT for receivers, you need to look at the numbers Howard Twilley put up as a senior when he came in 2nd in the Heisman voting....
 

TulsaFan2000

I.T.S. Sophomore
Jan 6, 2019
443
258
63
I don’t think Damaris Johnson deserves to be that high as a pure receiver. What made him extra special was the danger he posed in the return game. Also the fact that he screwed the team over with his indiscretions wasn’t very fun either.
I feel like he should get that credit as he’s literally the FBS leader in career all purpose yards and he did it in 3 years. Dude was electric and a threat to take it the house every time he touched the ball