Throughout it all, Lake Dallas cornerback Kobe Boyce stuck with the Texas Longhorns, signing his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday to officially join the program.
CB Kobe Boyce is officially a Longhorn. pic.twitter.com/DLUWAEbJAm— Longhorn Network (@LonghornNetwork) February 1, 2017
The 6’0, 163-pounder committed to former head coach Charlie Strong on April 3, one day after picking up his offer from the Longhorns.
However, it wasn’t always assured that he would remain in the class — he took a visit to Texas A&M six days later, then visited Iowa in June. Before that, Boyce picked up a big offer from Oklahoma, eventually taking an official visit to Norman in September.
At that point, it looked like he might flip to the Sooners, as multiple flip predictions came in to his 247Sports Crystal Ball over the coming weeks. Boyce had enjoyed the small-town feel of Norman.
So new head coach Tom Herman and his staff had some recruiting to do once they arrived on campus in Austin — secure the pledge of the talented cornerback.
It didn’t take long, as Boyce affirmed his commitment to the ‘Horns on December 10, just days after Herman took the job.
Since that time, he committed himself to recruiting other prospects.
Ranked as a consensus three-star prospect, Boyce is the No. 550 player nationally, the No. 54 cornerback, and the No. 74 player in Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Though he was originally recruited by Strong, Boyce has an intriguing blend of size and speed to fit in defensive coordinator Todd Orlando’s system, which generally opts for speed over size when given the choice.
At the Dallas The Opening Regional camp last spring, Boyce ran a 4.49 40-yard dash, 4.12 shuttle, and posted a 37.5-inch vertical leap, all extremely impressive numbers that put Boyce in the 99th percentile all players tested at those Nike events.
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 in 2015, 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 played a fair amount of bail technique. 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 that 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.
As a senior, Boyce played some wide receiver and safety in addition to cornerback, recording three interceptions and multiple passes defensed.