Briean Boddy-Calhoun has overcome every single challenge life has thrown at him thus far, so what can the senior corner accomplish for a swan song in 2015.
For Briean Boddy-Calhoun, nothing in life has come easy. From losing his father at the age of 7, going from city-kid in Delaware to small-town Kansas to chase his dream of division one college football, to finally losing his 2013 season to a significant knee injury in the Gophers second game of the year, Boddy-Calhoun has overcome every obstacle in his way thus far.
The question now becomes, what will the senior captain do for his final collegiate season that can top his spectacular junior year. One in which he was named first team All-Big Ten by the media, second team by conference coaches after he finished the year with 51 tackles, nine passes defended and five interceptions(tied for third all-time in a single season), plus he was Academic All-Big Ten.
Our A-to-Z series move to Minnesota's defensive big play threat.
Briean-Boddy Calhoun shatters Minnesota's single season interception record and wins the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back. Hey, you wanted the ultimate best case scenario, and that's it. More realistically, Boddy-Calhoun needs to continue to take the reigns of the defensive captain and continue building his resume for the NFL draft next spring. It's not out of the question for Boddy-Calhoun though to improve on his interceptions mark from last fall with teams as equally as tentative to throw at Eric Murray. Big plays are one trait that will always be linked to the Delaware native.
Unless Boddy-Calhoun suffers another significant injury, it's hard to envision anything that represents a step back for the senior captain. His development within the Gopher program has taken a step forward each year under defensive backs coach Jay Sawvel and from the hard work Boddy-Calhoun is known for, it seems like the worst case would only be a dip in interceptions.
When Boddy-Calhoun signed with Minnesota, I think no one including the Minnesota coaches thought last year's player was the kind of guy they were getting. I would compare skill sets to former Gopher Tyrone Carter, but Carter worked at safety and was much more highly touted out of high school that Boddy-Calhoun ever was. Personally, I believe he's Minnesota's version of long-time NFL corner Antoine Winfield. A sure-fire tackler who has a knack for the big play. Not saying that's what he'll be at the next level, but he definitely has that role the Golden Gophers.
Development Vs. Recruiting Ranking
Scout ranked Boddy-Calhoun as a two-star recruit coming out of a Coffeyville Community College with his only other offer from Toledo and I believe it's well understood that his two-star ranking has more than undersold his abilities. Not many "two-star" recruits get named to the All Big-Ten team each year, but Minnesota had two alone in the defensive backfield last year. Even if you were to ask the Gopher staff about Boddy-Calhoun's development, they'd tell you 100% that he's outperformed what they're expectations were for him. His hard work and always playing with a chip on his shoulder mentality has the Gophers with their most talented starting secondary in a very long time.
Boddy-Calhoun has had many memorable moments in his Minnesota career from his first start against UNLV where he jumped a slant route for an 89 yard interception return for a touchdown to his two interceptions against Missouri in the Citrus Bowl, but I think for many Gopher fans, none will top Boddy-Calhoun's game and/or play against Nebraska. With the Huskers offense driving into Gopher territory late in the 4th quarter, the Delaware native stripped the ball right out of Nebraska receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El's hands to seal the victory for Minnesota in Lincoln. That victory for Minnesota marked the first time the Gophers had beat Nebraska in Lincoln since 1960.
Quote to note
"We talk about our secondary all the time and Briean Boddy-Calhoun is a kid coming of major knee surgery. He's an unbelievable player but he's an unbelievable kid."
- Gophers head coach Jerry Kill following Minnesota's win at Nebraska
Minnesota A to Z: Briean Boddy-Calhoun
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