Tag Archives: Kris Boyd

Can You Blame Texas Players For Leaving Early For The NFL?

There’s been a lot of attrition around the Texas football program for several years. But this is the first time that I can remember where a good chunk of the attrition is coming from players leaving after their junior season to enter the NFL draft. Let’s take a look at who’s gone so far:

  • OT Connor Williams announced almost immediately following the Texas Tech game that he would forego his senior season and not participate in the upcoming bowl game. Williams is projected as a first-round draft pick, and potentially a top-10 pick overall. His decision should have been a no-brainer, and it appears that it was to him as well.
  • DB Holton Hill made a similar announcement recently. Hill’s situation is different because he was suspended for the last few games of the season. His stock was soaring as he was having the best year of his career. Most people expected him to bolt to the NFL anyway, but his suspension pretty much solidified the decision.
  • DB Deshon Elliott’s decision to enter the NFL draft came as somewhat of a surprise to me. Yes, he had a great year and was a Jim Thorpe Award finalist, but I don’t believe his stock is very high. He could potentially improve his stock with another solid year next year, but I guess you can’t blame him for striking while the iron is hot.

Other potential departures we are waiting on announcements from are Malik Jefferson, Kris Boyd, and Michael Dickson.

I fully expect Jefferson to leave, since he has the potential to be a first-round draft pick.

Boyd needs another year, plain and simple. He showed some good signs when he replaced Hill for the final three games, but has plenty of room to improve.

Dickson is a wild card. As a punter, you may not get drafted at all. However, being the Ray Guy award winner as the nation’s top punter will help his stock out. This decision likely just depends on whether Dickson is tired of school or not.

So now that we have the main list of candidates to think about, it’s time to have the discussion of whether they should leave or not.

In my opinion, Williams, Hill, and Jefferson should go. They have a chance to be first or second round picks, and it’s not worth coming back to Texas to risk injury. The only reason why they should even remotely consider coming back is if they have a chance to win a championship. Even the optimistic Longhorns fan knows that isn’t realistic at this point.

As for the rest of the players, can you actually blame them if they decide to leave? I mean, they can make the league minimum salary and still be in better shape than playing for free in college. Could they get better and make more money by being a higher draft pick after next season? Yes. Could they get hurt next season and end their career without making a dime playing football? Absolutely.

As a fan, you always want your best players to stick around for four years. But with the landscape of college football and the NFL changing, it’s hard for me to blame them for making money while they can.

The worst case scenario for them is they go undrafted, get signed as an undrafted free agent to a practice squad and then work their tails off to make the team. The best investment you can make is in yourself, so if you have the talent to play in the NFL, then go after it. These guys can always come back to school if the NFL doesn’t work out, but there’s only so many healthy years they have to play in the NFL.

With that being said, I hope this doesn’t become a trend where players skip out on bowl games if they are entering the NFL draft. The college bowl season is already losing the interest of fans enough as it is, so not having the best players on the field will diminish the relevance of each game even more. If the trend continues, college football as we know it will be changed drastically.

As for Texas players specifically, there’s really no reason for guys to play in the bowl game if they’re going to pursue a career in the NFL. There’s absolutely no value in playing in a mediocre bowl game as a 6-6 team. Yes, the team loyalty factor comes into play, but there are times when you have to look out for yourself as well. The chance to make hundreds of thousands of dollars at a minimum is one of those times, in my opinion.

Photo: Pixabay

E-mail Chase at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @chaseholik88.

Texas’ Bowl Chances Could Rely On One Player

I understand a lot has happened this season and there are many reasons why Texas may or may not make a bowl game this season. However, with two games remaining and needing to win one of them, one player stands out to me as needing to step up: cornerback Kris Boyd.

For the casual followers of the Longhorns, I’ll tell you why he is more important now than he has been all year. Holton Hill was recently suspended for the rest of the season for a violation of team rules. Hill has been the best player on the Texas defense and has even been thought of as a potential first round NFL draft pick if he leaves school after the season as a junior. Unless you follow games closely, you may not have even heard of Hill, simply because opposing teams don’t throw the ball in his direction much. He’s been that good.

Now Kris Boyd has slid over into Hill’s role as the number one cornerback. Boyd has had a solid year, but he’s good for at least one blown coverage a game, and potentially a personal foul for a late hit or pass interference flag. There’s a lot of good and bad with Boyd, but now that he’s replacing Hill, there needs to be a lot more good.

Positive signs were not there against Kansas, who put up 27 points and over 350 yards of offense against a Texas defense that has been stout all season for the most part. The two remaining teams on the schedule, West Virginia and Texas Tech, have a lot better offenses than Kansas.

We all know Texas isn’t going to be able to win either of their upcoming games if they get into a shootout. They just aren’t equipped to score 30+ points against any team with an average defense. We are halfway through November and we still don’t know who’s going to start at quarterback any given week. That’s how bad things are.

Boyd hasn’t shown the ability to be a lockdown cornerback like Hill was. And with other key injuries to the Texas secondary, it doesn’t bode well for the defense to be able to shut down their remaining opponents like they’ve done other teams this season.

I expect the defense to be able to hang around with West Virginia and Texas Tech regardless, but the absence of Hill could prove to be the difference. Teams will now be more willing to throw to their primary receiver since Boyd can be exposed more easily than Hill could. The main thing with Boyd is he absolutely cannot give up the big play or have a critical penalty at a crucial time in the game.

So when you’re watching the game on Saturday, keep an eye out for #2 playing defense for the burnt orange and white. If you hear Boyd’s name called for positive things, Texas has a chance to win out. But if you hear similar things that have been said all season about Boyd getting flagged or blowing coverages, Texas could get shut out of a bowl for a third straight year.

Photo: Wikimedia

E-mail Chase at chas[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @chaseholik88.

Breakout Defensive Players for Texas to Watch For This Year

A couple weeks ago I told you about the offensive players to look for to have a breakout season in 2017. Honestly, I’m not too worried about the offense this year under Tom Herman, but I do have plenty of concerns about the defense.

The sad thing is the defense won’t have to improve much to be light years better than they’ve been the last two years. But if Texas is going to get back to playing a championship level of defense this year, these are the guys who need to have a breakout year.

PJ Locke

Locke showed glimpses of being a star in the defensive backfield last year. And by all accounts, Herman loves the guy for what he does on and off the field. He’s simply a ball-hawk, and now he’s supposedly taking a leadership role. With a defense severely lacking leadership the last several years, Locke’s name must be called a lot this year if the defense will be greatly improved.

Naashon Hughes

Naashon Hughes is the only senior on my list. He’s always been a guy with great potential in my eyes, but just lacks confidence and consistency. He looked like a force at first under Charlie Strong, but then took steps backward the last couple of years. If Herman puts Hughes in a spot where he can succeed, I expect him to have a great year. As of now, I don’t see Hughes being a guy that gets drafted in next year’s NFL draft, but Herman could change that for him.

Charles Omenihu

Omenihu was one of the prized recruits in Strong’s first full recruiting class. He’s a monster defensive end from a size perspective, but we just haven’t seen a lot from him from a physicality standpoint. With Malcolm Roach likely garnering more double teams, the door could be open for Omenihu to have a big year. With the defensive line potentially being one of the strongest units on the defensive side of the ball, Omenihu may not be the only breakout player. But based on his talent and skills, and the fact that he’s underwhelmed fans under Strong, I feel like he’s ready to breakout.

Holton Hill/Davante Davis/Kris Boyd

I’m throwing all three of these guys together because they are all in the defensive backfield and any one of them could be a big-time contributor. Boyd saw the most action last year, but Hill and Davis are widely believed to have more talent. The problem with Hill and Davis last year was their confidence level. NFL scouts believe all three of them could play in the league in a couple years, but they will have to show more in college. With Herman’s ability to instill confidence in his players, it wouldn’t surprise me if all three of these guys make significant contributions in 2017. And if they do, this defense could be a force for even the best Big 12 offenses.

Not named on my list that most Texas fans were probably looking for is Malik Jefferson. I intentionally omitted him because I really don’t know what to make of his situation. He was the top recruit in the 2015 class, had a great freshman year, but ended up benched the second half of the 2016 season.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Jefferson had a breakout year, but at this point I think the Texas defense has other issues to worry about. Jefferson is one of the most athletic players on the field no matter who Texas plays against, but he doesn’t have the strength to get off blocks most of the time. I’m just not sure if he can put on enough of that strength in one offseason to make a huge jump.

Defense could be the difference between winning six games and ten games for the Longhorns in 2017. If these players have the big breakout years that I’m hoping for, then Texas could be closer to ten wins when it’s all said and done.

E-mail Chase at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @chaseholik88.

Photo: Pixabay