Newest Texas Longhorns pledge Kobe Boyce, a consensus three-star cornerback from Lake Dallas, has been a hot commodity on the recruiting trail in recent weeks, no doubt aided by a remarkable testing performance at the Dallas The Opening Regional camp four weeks ago.
Consider that in late January he was visiting SMU for a Junior Day and still had to wait until the middle of March until picking up his offer from the Mustangs. Now Boyce has 15 offers and joined the Texas class on Sunday, one day after the Longhorns offered on an unofficial visit.
In between, Boyce picked up offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss.
Just as importantly, the 6'0, 163-pounder registered testing numbers in Dallas that put him in the 99th percentile for all players tested in his class:
good day today✈️ pic.twitter.com/pUqhcNQVpE— Kobe Boyce (@KobeBoyce3) March 13, 2016
So keep that speed in mind when evaluating his current rankings as the No. 766 player nationally, the No. 74 cornerback, and the No. 106 player in the state of Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings -- his offer list and his testing results aren't yet reflected in those rankings, but he should receive a bump when the services conduct further evaluations in light of those realities.
Physically, Boyce is still a lean player at 163 pounds who might end up benefitting from a redshirt season to work in the weight room, though his willingness to be a hitter from his cornerback position and speed could make him difficult to keep off of Texas special teams in 2017.
In coverage, he recorded two interceptions as a junior last fall, but also broke up eight passes. One of those interceptions was of the highly-difficult variety, as he had to break on an overthrown football in zone coverage and dive to make the catch. Since Boyce has such impressive top-end speed, quickness, and leaping ability, he can recover if he gets beat, plant and drive on the football in off coverage, and elevate to play bigger than 6'0.
On his junior film, he plays a fair amount of bail technique and projects as a likely field corner at Texas because of he doesn't have the height that Strong prefers at the boundary. There were some teams that tried to take advantage of him on go routes last season, but he's just too fast for that to work often at the high school level. And with verified 4.49 speed in the 40-yard dash, there won't be many players in college who can run past him either.
Special teams plays can often reveal a lot about a player and at the 2:35 mark on his junior film, Boyce lines up over a gunner in punt coverage and pancakes his opponent down the field with a vicious block. Give him credit for some physicality and functional strength despite his lack of overall mass then, as evidenced on that play and his ability to throw the power ball 35 feet, a solid number that put him in the 89th percentile of all 2017 prospects tested by Nike.
In another clip on punt coverage, Boyce uses his range to close quickly on the return man and makes the tackle despite taking a stiff arm right to his face mask. So, yup, pencil him in as a potential special teams contributor in 2017.
Making an impact at cornerback may take a little bit longer because the Lake Dallas product will have a lot of extremely talented juniors and seniors in front of him, but all the tools are there for Boyce to become an excellent player for the Longhorns as an upperclassman and become a valuable member of the rotation before that.