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Senior CB Kris Boyd headlines highly touted Texas secondary in 2018

The senior cornerback closed the 2017 season on a high note and he’s continued to garner praise throughout the entire offseason.


It’s Kris Boyd’s secondary now.

That wasn’t quite the case throughout his first three fall semesters on the Forty Acres, but now just days ahead of his senior season, Boyd is the most seasoned figure in a deep and experienced Texas secondary, and he’s perfectly on pace to fulfill the aspirations he envisioned as a starstruck Texas Longhorns target in 2015.

“It’s just the ‘DBU’ legacy,” Boyd said, noting that he was in awe after seeing Quandre Diggs on campus during a visit years ago. “That’s another thing me and Hollywood [Holton Hill] talked about when we committed here, how we was going to get it back going and have everybody like, ‘Man, look at that secondary at Texas.’ I’m just here to show them this is what it’s about to be.”

37 career appearances and 20 starts removed from those aspirations as a four-star recruit and it seems Boyd is getting exactly what he wished for.

Surrounding Boyd in the secondary is 91 games and 46 starts worth of experience in the form of senior cornerback Davante Davis, senior nickel back P.J. Locke III, and junior safety Brandon Jones. The latter was once the top-ranked safety prospect in the country, as was the safety who will line up alongside him this season, true freshman Caden Sterns. The depth chart beyond that is filled out with four former All-Americans in B.J. Foster, Jalen Green, Anthony Cook, and DeMarvion Overshown, as well as high upside options including Josh Thompson, Kobe Boyce, Chris Brown, and Montrell Estell.

It’s a unit that’s been previewed and praised on seemingly countless occasions this offseason, and headlining what should prove to be the best secondary in the Big 12 is Boyd.

Boyd capped his junior campaign with career-high efforts in tackles (57), interceptions (2), and pass breakups (15); the latter marked the most from any Longhorn since 2011 and the most among all returning Big 12 defensive backs.

The stats only paint a portion of the picture, though.

While DeShon Elliott and Holton Hill quickly emerged into stardom in the secondary, Boyd struggled out of the gates, allowing key touchdown connections to Maryland’s D.J. Moore, USC’s Deontay Burnett and Oklahoma’s Jeff Badet.

“The team’s 29-24 loss to Oklahoma on Oct. 14, a game where Boyd was the lowest-rated defensive player on the Texas roster according to PFF College with a grade of 30.7 for the day (seven targets, one touchdown allowed and two missed tackles), rounded out a rough first half of the season,” 247Sports Jeff Howe wrote. “Aside from a PFF College grade of 83.1 against Iowa State (12 targets, one interception, one pass breakup, two forced incompletions), Boyd’s grades leading up to him bottoming out in the Cotton Bowl were as follows: 43 vs. Maryland, 49.3 vs. San Jose State, 50 vs. USC and 39.9 vs. Kansas State.”

However, as the season progressed, so, too, did Boyd’s level of play.

Against an elite Oklahoma State wide receiving corps, Boyd was targeted eight times, forcing three incompletions and notching three pass breakups. This theme persisted throughout the remainder of Boyd’s junior campaign and was most evident during the Longhorns regular-season finale against Texas Tech, in which Boyd earned a nation-leading Pro Football Focus grade of 98.6 after notching one interception, five pass breakups, and three forced incompletions in 11 targets.

Boyd’s stat line wasn’t quite as overwhelming the next time out during the Longhorns’ 33-16 Texas Bowl win over Missouri, as he recorded only one pass breakup, but that was largely due to his elite effort in coverage — Boyd was targeted just three times before finishing with a Pro Football Focus coverage grade of 85.3.

It was the cherry atop a convincing finish to the 2017 campaign, as Boyd allowed only one touchdown reception throughout the final seven games and it came against Kansas on a screen pass in the end zone in which Boyd was blocked by the slot receiver.

Things have continued to trend upward for the senior throughout the past eight months.

Whether it was winter workouts, spring football, or on into fall camp, practice reports have consistently mentioned Boyd as a tremendously confident leader for the Longhorns defense in the locker room and on the field. That was on full display when Boyd was recently mic’d up for fall camp, as he can be heard challenging quarterback Shane Buechele and coaching up the younger defensive backs.

“Get inside. Get inside some more, slide inside some more,” Boyd told Cook ahead of a one-on-one drill against Collin Johnson.

Aside from any potential postseason action, only 12 games stand between Boyd and the completion of his career as a Texas Longhorn. Considering how commendably he capped the 2017 slate, there’s reason to believe Boyd will go out on a high note — he enters his final stretch on the Forty Acres on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list and as a Preseason All-Big 12 first-team selection.

The expectations are equally as high in Austin.

It’s Kris Boyd’s secondary now.