Wynne junior Terrance Boykin was reluctant to move to cornerback from linebacker once he made it to the high school level, but that's what legendary Yellowjackets head coach Don Campbell had in mind for him.
There's no doubt it's worked out great for both of them as Boykin (5-11, 195, 4.6) is now considered one of the state's best junior secondary prospects and someone that the University of Arkansas and several other schools are showing interest in.
He is one of several in-state juniors that are possibles for this weekend's UA Junior Day on Saturday.
"When I came to high school I was on the field during the summer and Coach would say ‘Boykin, get at cornerback,'" Boykin said. "I had never played any cornerback in my life, didn't know what deep third was. But playing with this coach has turned me into a defensive back that's pretty good. I like to get up and bump you. I don't like to play off of you. I am a great coverage guy, but I can come up and hit you when it is time."
Boykin, who was named to the Associated Press' Super Team four-man secondary along with fellow junior Josh Trezvant of Morrilton, rushed for over 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns, had over 80 tackles and picked off five passes this season.
In doing so he also earned the Jonesboro Sun's Player of the Year award as the best high school football player in Northeast Arkansas - an honor he won over a lot of top players such as his teammate and fellow junior Terrence Garrett.
"Boykin and Terrence (Garrett) are just heck of a high school football players," Campbell said. "They can just do so many things for your football team on both sides of the ball."
"I think Boykin can be a good D-back," Campbell added. "I think Terrence Garrett can be a good linebacker. The problem with both of them is they have got to get that speed better. right now they have got to bring that 40 time down. They are unbelievable high school players. They just make plays and are tough to tackle. But getting speed down some will tell us just how good they will be on that level."
One thing tells you that for sure. Campbell, who only throws a few passes each game and barely gets into double digits via pass attempts during a season, actually got the ball to Boykin in the passing game 12 times for 255 yards during the 2005 campaign.
"I don't know if it is a school record or not," Boykin said laughing. "But I have been watching Coach Campbell's team play for a long time and I remember one year that just threw it five times the whole season.
"But by the time the playoffs hit this season, he said we are going to throw you the ball some and you go get it with those large hands that you have," Campbell added. "He saw how I caught it on defense and offense in practice so he decided to open it up, well, at least throw another pass or two."
Campbell said Boykin was good enough to make him "air it out" so to speak.
"We got this little old play where I slip him out of the backfield," Campbell said. "People crowd us as you can imagine. It's a play-action type thing and he slips through the line. Nobody ever sees him off the fake. People are playing us two deep and we get those deep people out and he is wide open over the middle. Good Lord, every time we ran it he would make 30, 40, 50 yards. They can't find him until its too late and he has a great pair of hands."
Arkansas joins Oklahoma State, Florida State, Memphis, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Ole Miss among the teams showing interest in Boykin.
He is proud he has the seal of approval from Campbell, who has also coached players like Memphis' DeAngelo Williams, Arkansas' Cord Gray and Arkansas State's Antonio Warren.
"If Coach Campbell tells a scout I have somebody that can play, they know that guy can play," Boykin said. "He might have things to work on. He doesn't recommend you unless you put in the work and you have the talent."
Boykin is not sure where he will end up on the football field once he gets to college.
"When I get to college I think they will switch me around and find out what is best for me," Boykin said. "I can play multiple positions. I can play wide receiver, I can run it and I like playing defense. I always wanted to be a running back, but I will play wherever they put me at."
He makes it clear he loves a challenge.
"I like playing against the top wide receivers in the state, top wide receivers in the nation," Boykin said. "I can show my talent. I can show them I am good enough to go to the next level. Sometimes I move up to linebacker. It's all about matchups. If there best receiver is a tight end, then I would play at linebacker. Wherever the key players is is where they line me up."
On offense, he believes he has one super quality.
"My vision," Boykin said. "I am not the fastest running back and I am surely not the strongest, but I have real good vision and I make the right moves at the right time. I am an average strength person - however you want to put it - and I have got to improve my speed."
Boykin also plays basketball and runs track , which keeps him out of the weight room and offseason conditioning.
"I just love playing basketball, but it does keep me from getting as strong as the rest of the boys who are lifting weights like Terrence Garrett. "But I have fun doing it and I think it makes me a better athlete."
Wynne ended the 2005 season with a 9-3-1 mark, losing to eventual Class AAAA champion Greenwood 25-24 in the state semifinals at Wynne.
Boykin had 181 yards rushing in that game and also took a pass 79 yards for score in the loss.
"We just came up one point short," Boykin said. "It is hard to get over. Then they won the whole thing so that made it even tougher."
Boykin said he and Garrett would definitely go to camps at Arkansas and Memphis and maybe a few others.
""I plan on going to a lot of camps," Boykin said. "Wherever Terrance Garrett goes, wherever we need to go to get seen, that is what we are going to do."
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