On Friday, the NFL released the official list of underclassmen who have declared for this year’s draft and Texas Longhorns cornerback Kris Boyd was not on the list.
There certainly weren’t any indications that he’d decided to become an early entrant since neither the school nor Boyd ever released a statement, but there hadn’t been any official indications that he wasn’t on the list prior to its release, either.
So there was at least some level of reassurance on Friday, which also marked Boyd sending out the closest thing to an official statement that he’s made:
Can’t even explain the anticipation I already have to ball with my brothers this year! Promise you we on a mission!— kris boyd™ (@kris23db) January 19, 2018
Surely cornerbacks coach Jason Washington feels the same away after losing Holton Hill to the NFL following his suspension.
The 6’0, 200-pound Boyd finished his second season as close to a full-time starter — he trotted out with the first-team defense in eight and 12 games in the last two seasons — and finished fifth on the team with 57 tackles. He also recorded 15 pass break ups, the most for a Texas player since 2011, and added two interceptions.
Early in the season, however, Boyd was inconsistent, continuing to make mental mistakes, busting some coverages like the trick play that resulted in a 42-yard throw by running back Trey Sermon, and getting beat in instances like the early touchdown pass by Baker Mayfield in the Cotton Bowl.
“To me, Kris is doing the things he needs to do in practice,” defensive coordinator Todd Orlando said in October. “But what his biggest deal is that he takes his training and applies it to the game. Don’t go into this thing and all of a sudden throw it all out the window.”
To correct those mistakes and help translate practice success into gameday success, the coaches started filming Boyd in practice to watch his eye discipline and make sure that his technique stayed on point.
The next Saturday, Boyd responded with 13 tackles (11 solo) and two pass break ups against Oklahoma State. To finish the regular season, he made six tackles, broke up five passes, and hauled in an interception against Texas Tech before breaking up another pass and making three tackles against Missouri in the Texas Bowl.
A departure to the NFL would seem justified had Boyd played the entire season at that level, but he opted to make the safer choice and return to school with the opportunity to potentially become a Day Two pick next year.
Time to secure that bag, Mr. Boyd.