NO. 6: WR-MILES BOYKIN (RS-So.)
• The Journey: The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder out of Tinley Park, Ill./Providence Catholic High School was one of 10 freshmen in 2015 to preserve a year of eligibility.
He inched his way into the wideout rotation as a red-shirt freshman last season, playing in all 12 games and catching six passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.
He made his first collegiate catch in Game 4 – a 20-yarder – against Duke, and then followed that up with two catches for 36 yards the following week at Syracuse, including a career-long 25-yarder.
Boykin caught passes against Miami (one yard) and Army (six yards). In the final home game against Virginia Tech, he hauled in an 18-yard seam-route pass from DeShone Kizer midway through the second period and turned it into a touchdown to give Notre Dame a 24-7 lead in a game the Irish would lose, 34-31.
Boykin, who suffered a broken finger in 2016, had at least four dropped passes to go with his six receptions on the season, so consistency was an issue in his modest pass-catching opportunities.
• The Spring: Boykin has become one of the top stories of the spring. With standout receiver Equanimeous St. Brown slowed a bit by a hamstring and a greater emphasis on Notre Dame’s big wideouts/tight ends, Boykin has had an eye-opening month-plus.
Unofficially, he caught seven of the 41 completions in last week’s 7-on-7 drills open to the media, including three each from Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book. As he was last spring, Boykin is extremely difficult to defend on slant routes with his above-average speed and size.
• The Quote: “Miles is starting to build some ‘bank’ if you will as it relates to consistency. He’s putting a lot in the bank of trust that we can trust he’s going to give us the kind of performance that’s going to lend itself to playing time.
“He’s been very consistent as a ball-catcher, very consistent in terms of assignments. His traits have been very evident in terms of attention to detail. His focus has been great. His attitude. He’s been gritty. He gets a lot of those back-shoulder throws where he has to go up and get it and he lands (hard).
“Physically, he gets beat up a little bit. I see him in there getting treatment and he comes back out and makes good decisions. He’s exhibiting all the traits we’re looking for.” -- Brian Kelly