In an appearance on TWC News Austin, Gilmer cornerback Kris Boyd announced his commitment to the Texas Longhorns, along with close friend Holton Hill, a cornerback from Houston Lamar.
He also sent out the following tweet:
Head coach Charlie Strong sent out his signature tweet moments later:
#LetsRide Dynamic Duo!— Charlie Strong (@Strong_TexasFB) January 30, 2015
The decision helped the Horns regain some of the recruiting momentum lost on Thursday evening when five-star Allen quarterback Kyler Murray re-affirmed his pledge to the Aggies, the other finalist for Boyd.
The 6'0, 185-pounder set his commitment date earlier in the week with Hill, but it wasn't until Boyd tweeted his intentions to commit live at 1:30 p.m. CT that anyone knew when it would happen. The sports director at TWC News Austin subsequently sent out a tweet about a recruiting announcement at the same time that was later deleted.
Boyd's announcement ended a process already extended once -- he originally planned to make his decision on Christmas Day, but decided to push it back.
"I just felt like it was the time, but then again maybe it wasn't because people are enjoying their family on the holidays," Boyd told SB Nation Recruiting at the 2015 US Army All-American Bowl.
At the time, Texas seemed like the heavy favorite after Boyd and his younger brother, 2016 linebacker Demarco Boyd, were seen throwing up the "hook 'em Horns" hand sign after Gilmer won the state title:
Since then, Boyd released a top five in early January, switched out a couple schools, then eventually trimmed his list to the two finalists, slowly eliminating the other schools one by one.
He also took two official visits, both with Hill -- first to Texas and then to Texas A&M, though the Aggies almost didn't receive a visit, as Boyd seriously considered tripping to Baylor, one of the school that made his top five when he initially released it during Army Bowl week.
Why was it so difficult for Texas A&M to get that visit, despite the fact that Boyd once looked like an Aggie lean? Perhaps in part because the staff chose to prioritize landing Fort Bend Marshall cornerback Kendell Sheffield and only circled back on Boyd once Sheffield committed to Alabama at the 2015 Under Armour All-America game.
The Texas staff apparently felt good about its chances with Boyd ahead of an in-home visit on Thursday -- Miami (Fla.) Northwestern cornerback Deandre Baker, a Georgia commit who took an official visit to Austin last weekend, was told that Texas expected to land some cornerbacks on Friday.
And even most Aggies acknowledged the same, with Gigem247 analysts Taylor Hamm and Brian Perroni both switching their Crystal Ball predictions for Boyd on Thursday:
One of the major factors? Texas offered Boyd's younger brother back in October, but A&M waited until Wednesday evening to do so, raising questions about whether the offer was because the staff really wanted Demarco Boyd or because head coach Kevin Sumlin finally realized that the two are intent on playing football together in college.
Ranked as a consensus four-star prospect, Boyd is the No. 98 player nationally, the No. 11 cornerback, and the No. 14 player in Texas. He also held offers from the likes of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida State, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas Tech.
What will Boyd bring to the Texas defense? For one, the potential to play early. Since the Horns spent almost the entirety of conference play in a nickel defense, the program lost two starters in the secondary and has little experience behind the lone returning starter at cornerback, senior Duke Thomas.
At 6'1, with long arms, Boyd has elite size for the cornerback position, a fact that always raises the question of whether he has the fluidity to stay there in college.
The two questions that arise from that are: 1) How fast is Boyd in a straight line? 2) Can he flip his hips and transition in coverage?
The answer to the first question can be verified by his track times -- Boyd ran a sub-11 100m last spring in track for Gilmer and his absence of many times suggests that he doesn't participate that often or that his times aren't always accurately recorded. Based on his work for the Gilmer offense with the ball in his hands, he looks like a player who could run a sub-10.7 100m with the right technique.
So, it seems clear that Boyd is fast enough to make up for any tightness in his hips or poor technique/footwork.
And if lateral quickness at running back can translate to coverage ability, Boyd is impressive with his change of direction, ability to turn the corner at a high speed, and lateral movement to get to the edge. In fact, there's some pure running back skills in Boyd's game and it's not a stretch to imagine him as a high-impact player on the offensive side of the ball in college, though he's being recruited as a defensive back at this time.
Beyond a few brief looks in press coverage and some zone coverage in a bail look, it's hard to get a read on Boyd's ability to flip his hips and run with receivers, as well as his ball skills -- on this 16-minute highlight reel, those things just don't show up on film.
What is apparent is that Boyd is excellent in press coverage. His long arms help tremendously, but what really shines is his willingness to get physical with opponents. On one running play, Boyd explodes through his lower body like an offensive lineman to pancake a wide receiver.
The physicality translates to his tackling ability, too, as Boyd is a solid striker overall, though he would benefit from bringing his lower body like he does defeating perimeter blocks in the running game and by more consistently wrapping up.
However, there is enough from the Gilmer product as a tackler to favorably project him at safety if the cornerback skills don't end up being there in college. Throw in the fact that he could be a productive wide receiver and running back and there are plenty of positions that Boyd could contribute at in college.
Given his size, his greatest value lies at cornerback and if can show some technique and ball skills there, he has a chance to have a tremendous college career.
With the commitments of Boyd and Hill, Texas now has three cornerbacks pledged in the 2015 class, including Miami (Fla.) Booker T Washington's Davante Davis, who re-affirmed his commitment to the Longhorns on Thursday evening.
The Friday pledges pushed Texas past Texas A&M and two other schools into the No. 9 spot nationally in the 247Sports Composite team rankings. The Horns remain No. 1 in the Big 12.