FAYETTEVILLE – Already adorning the Doak Walker Award Preseason Watch list for the award in December honoring the nation’s best running back, Arkansas Razorbacks senior Rakeem Boyd now adorns the Maxwell Award Watch List released Friday for the award in December honoring the nation’s best football player.
Despite Arkansas’ abysmal, 2-10 overall/0-8 SEC season for 2019, Boyd rushed for a by far team-leading 1,333 yards on 184 carries and 6.4 yards per carry average. In five games he exceeded 100 yards, including SEC games against Kentucky (134) and Mississippi State (114) and peaked with 185 yards on only eight carries against Western Kentucky.
Against Western Kentucky he broke touchdowns of 76 and 86 yards and also netted two touchdowns rushing against Kentucky and Colorado State among his eight touchdowns for the season.
As a receiver out of the backfield Boyd caught 19 passes for 164 yards.
Originally a 2016 redshirted freshman at Texas A&M, Boyd transferred to Independence (Kan.) Junior College in 2017 then transferred in 2018 to Arkansas under former Razorbacks Coach Chad Morris.
Although not arriving in Fayetteville until after the 2018 August preseason began while completing in summer school his junior college graduation requirements, Boyd led the 2-10/ 0-8 SEC Razorbacks of 2018 in rushing with 734 yards on 123 carries with 10 touchdowns and caught 23 passes for 165 yards.
It’s generally considered new Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman’s greatest recruiting that he convinced Boyd to return his senior year rather than declare for the NFL draft.
Pittman and Boyd believe Boyd can improve his draft stock not only with continued success running the ball but enhancing other aspects pointed out by NFL evaluations.
“ In our report that we got back and we shared with Rakeem, we need to get him more pass protection reps,” Pittman said. “That’ll help him in the league. We need to get him the ball out of the backfield so he can catch more balls out of the backfield. Those are things that are in our offense certainly, and the better he is at those the higher his draft stock is going to be become.”
Boyd said he appreciates Pittman’s approach.
“Pittman is a straight up dude,” Boyd said. “He’s going to give it to you like it is. Most coaches aren’t going to give it to you straight on a plate. They are going to sugar coat everything. With Pittman, he’s going to set you straight. You’re going to get it done, and if you don’t there will be consequences. You know what I mean? He’s kind of an old school type of coach. I really like it.”
So far in addition to Boyd on two watch lists, Razorbacks Treylon Burks, a sophomore receiver-kickoff and punt returner, has been named to the Paul Hornung Award Watch List and senior place-kicker A.J. Reed, a graduate transfer from Duke, has been named to the Lou Groza Watch List.
The Razorbacks held their first NCAA allowed totally non-contact walkthrough practice Friday.
Arkansas doesn’t start its regular preseason practices until Aug. 7 preparing for its season-opener against the University of Nevada Wolf Pack.
The season-opener is scheduled for Sept. 5 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium but it, and the entire season, is subject to change or cancellation pending the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.