Hand him the ...

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Brendan Bures | NCAA.com | October 29, 2014

The Catalyst

Hand Him The... TCU's Trevone Boykin

Each week of the college football season NCAA.com will take a look at the most impressive individual performances. Some weeks it may be one player who stands head and shoulders above everyone else. This week, TCU's Trevone Boykin emerges as a legitimate Heisman contender.

It’s funny, in a preposterous sort of way, when any football team scores 82 points in a game, led by a quarterback throwing 433 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns. It’s hilarious considering that quarterback’s coach considered him not ready to play -- unprepared, if you will -- before the game. It’s downright hysterical how that quarterback, Trevone Boykin of TCU, was supposed to lose a QB battle to Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel and switch positions to wide receiver. It was his ‘natural position,’ ‘a better fit,’ his coaches hinted at the time.

  Boykin's athleticism separates him on the field.
Laughing may be the only logical reaction to Boykin’s transformation this season. He was a quality talent last season; it was inherently obvious he was one of the best pure athletes whenever he was on the field.

But to expect that introducing new offensive assistants in playcaller Doug Meacham and quarterbacks coach Sonny Cumbie would cause this? That it’d be like a spark to a vat of methane laid dormant far too long? That attendants at TCU’s stadium would run out of literal fireworks to set off because Boykin and the offense had scored too many points, symbolically replacing the explosions in the sky?

See, it’s natural to chuckle at this. Heading into the season, the Big 12 was assumed to be the show between Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight and Baylor’s Bryce Petty. They were billed as the league’s stars.

The Horned Frogs, though, were built to embody head coach Gary Patterson’s defensive style. Hard-nosed, old-school football. Instead Meacham and Cumbie infused TCU with the patented Air Raid offense, a retrospectively perfect fit for Boykin. To his credit, Patterson went with it. The result: All-out Air Assault.

At the point is Boykin. Outside of maybe Dak Prescott (a big maybe), no Heisman candidate has had such a dramatic turnaround between seasons. We knew Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota and Ameer Abdullah were capable of this. We expected Everett Golson, with two years of training, would be better than before. The same could be said about many of the fringe contenders. No one saw this coming from TCU and Boykin.

A year ago, TCU averaged 25.1 points per game, good for 88th among FBS teams. Now the Horned Frogs are the No. 1 scoring offense, averaging 50.4 points per game. (They’re the only FBS team above the 50-point mark.) Meanwhile, Boykin is third in total offense (382.9 yards/game), behind only Washington State’s Connor Halliday and Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty.

Among AP Top 25 teams, Boykin is one of only five quarterbacks (Winston, Trickett, Carden, Solomon) averaging more than 300 yards per game passing.

2014 7 168 286 58.8 2,306 21 3
2013 12 105 176 59.7 1,198 7 7
2014 7 85 374 4.4 3
2013 12 105 313 2.9 7
Remember -- and it’s something we should never, ever forget when discussing Boykin and his Heisman chances because of how absurd it is -- this was a player whose coach intended him to play wide receiver. And now he’s one of the best statistical quarterbacks in the country and the catalyst for a top 10 team that went 4-8 last season.

Should TCU storm through its remaining Big 12 schedule and steal a spot in the College Football Playoff, Boykin will receive votes on Heisman ballots. Unlike others, we’re not going to pretend like we know where this college football/Heisman thing is headed (full disclosure: we won’t pretend yet), so we won’t predict anyone winning anything in October.

Whatever happens, what Boykin and TCU have done this season is a complete improvement upon last season's product. Where this leads nobody knows, but what they've accomplished this far is no laughing matter...okay, that's positively what it is.

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