Trevone Boykin Goes From No Position To Heisman Favorite

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Bovada released adjusted Heisman Trophy odds Tuesday, and atop its list of 35 candidates is TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin. Now sitting at 6/1, he pulled slightly ahead of Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, who headed up Bovada’s odds in May.

Boykin was arguably worthy of an invite to New York for last year’s Heisman presentation, throwing for 3,901 yards and 33 touchdowns with another 707 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground to pace the nation’s No. 2 scoring offense.

Should Boykin hoist the bronze statue come December, he’ll be a rare Heisman favorite who doubles as decided underdog.

Trevone Boykin’s ascent to All-American and Heisman front-runner is one of the cooler story lines heading into the 2015 college football season. Boykin first quarterbacked the Horned Frogs in 2012, their first season in the Big 12 Conference, out of sheer desperation. Initial starting quarterback and 2011 star Casey Pachall was arrested for DWI in early October of that season, shortly after rumors surfaced that Pachall admitted to failing a drug test during head coach Gary Patterson’s sweep through program earlier that year.

Four TCU players were arrested as part of a drug sting that nabbed 18, forcing Patterson’s internal crackdown.

While Pachall sought treatment, Trevone Boykin — a converted wide receiver — took over at quarterback. His debut was a clunker, a 37-23 loss to Iowa State in which Boykin threw three interceptions and just one touchdown. The defeat, TCU’s first of the 2012 season, also began a season-long struggle that resulted in the program’s worst finish since going 5-6 in 2004.

Boykin’s freshman season had flashes of brilliance, such as the four-touchdown effort in a triple-overtime loss to Texas Tech, but was largely unremarkable. The following campaign was worse.

Pachall returned to reassume starting quarterback duties, only to have his season marred with injury. Boykin spent 2013 as a man without a position, altering between wide receiver when Pachall was available, and quarterback with Pachall out. He caught 26 passes for 204 yards and completed just 59.7 percent of his 176 pass attempts, with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Trevone Boykin’s season without an identity was a microcosm for TCU as a whole. The Horned Frogs appeared rudderless in the Big 12, falling to 4-8 with just two wins in conference: a 10-point defeat of Kansas, and a four-point survival against Iowa State. TCU failed to crack 30 either time.

It’s astounding what a far cry 2013 is from the current state of TCU football. Trevone Boykin quite clearly has a position now. He’s not just the definitive leader of the TCU, but as the Heisman odds suggest, in the conversation as college football’s most outstanding player.

He’s even improved at wide receiver: Last season, he caught his first career touchdown pass on a double-pass. Rather poetically, it came against Iowa State.

Boykin’s strides as a quarterback haven’t stopped some from advocating his move back to receiver, however. West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen joked prior to the Mountaineers’ meeting with TCU last November that Patterson should consider it.

Oklahoma probably would have co-sponsored this suggestion. The Sooners had their own struggles with Boykin at quarterback.

Opposing head coaches don’t want to see Trevone Boykin lined up behind center in offensive coordinator Dough Meacham’s free-wheeling system, and with good reason. Patterson explained to Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News during the spring that Boykin’s understanding of the uptempo spread is exemplary.

“He’ll check out of things he didn’t even call,” Patterson told Carlton.

From throwing three interceptions against Iowa State, to mastering the nuances of calling plays at the line, Trevone Boykin has come a very long way. All that mileage just might be enough to get him from Fort Worth to New York City.