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Andy Hodges

Pittman’s best recruit was keeping Boyd from declaring for NFL

Too much of recruiting is lost in how many high school players decide to come to school any particular year, Sam Pittman’s best recruit was already on campus.

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Too much of recruiting is lost in how many high school players decide to come to school any particular year, Sam Pittman’s best recruit was already on campus.

And everybody wanted him here another year.

When running back Rakeem Boyd decided to come back for his senior year it actually put the finishing touch on what was a better recruiting year than any of the rankings said.

Add in 26 redshirt freshmen (scholarship and walk-on) plus the newbies coming in and it was beyond a solid class. About the only thing Chad Morris accomplished in two years was keeping the redshirts on some talented freshmen.

But Boyd was the last piece to the puzzle.

“We basically talked about how we can help him increase his value,” Pittman said in a Zoom press conference Wednesday. “I don’t ever believe that he really wanted to leave the football program.”

They always wonder, though. The goal is to make it to the NFL and keep playing as long as possible.

“He was wondering, ‘What is my status at this time if I leave?'” Pittman said. “He had a great offseason. He’s going to help our football team, obviously. I believe we can help him as well in getting upgraded in the draft.”

Replacing his output from last season would have been difficult at best, but impossible was probably going to factor in there somewhere.

Boyd’s areas to improve on have to do with the passing game. In the NFL, being able to catch the ball and help on pass blocking will land you a spot on a roster faster than being able to run between the tackles.

“Those are two things that we talked to him about that he has to improve his game to certainly move up the draft board,” Pittman said.

And he knows that next to winning games that is probably the next biggest key, which also pays off getting those high school players.

“To be honest with you, that is one of our jobs,” Pittman said. “One of our jobs is to get our players drafted as high as they possibly can, and we’re going to go to work for it.”

It helps when the guy you’re working with already has a head start on getting there like Boyd.

“We’re going to give him opportunities to pass protect a little bit more and become a more physical pass protector,” Pittman said. “Obviously, he has great running skills and things of that nature, but those are two things that we talked to him about that he has to improve his game to certainly move up the draft board.”

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