Miles Boykin Effect
So, here’s the thing. Miles Boykin was definitely not a powerhouse receiver for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish prior to the 2018 season. Not counting the LSU bowl game, his career totals were as follows: 15 Receptions, 232 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Nothing to totally scoff at, but nothing to gloat about either. He was seen as a big, athletic body who hadn’t fully hit his stride with route running or play making ability. Then something happened.
He snagged an unreal catch, and then weaved through top talent SEC defenders from LSU en route to a game winning touchdown. He finished the day with 3 catches, 103 yards, and a touchdown. This provided optimism and confidence heading into his redshirt junior season. What followed was 59 catches, 872 yards, 8 touchdowns, and an absurd combine workout leading him to third round draft pick. Obviously his rise in 2018 was coupled with intense work ethic and focus by Boykin, but people forget he was an unknown in the college football world prior to this.
Javon McKinley..... “Hold my Beer”
Mckinley has had an extremely quiet Notre Dame career, most of which can be chalked up to an early injury. He played in 6 games as a freshman, but then broke his leg and missed the entire following season, and then sat in the shadows for nearly all of 2018. As a former 4 star recruit playing against top California competition, the talent was always there, but the production never matched. His arrest last Spring made it seem like there was a doorway with a flashing “EXIT” sign. However, the coaches didn’t dismiss him and actually talked quite positively about him as the summer wore on. There were also some highlight reel catches throughout camp that made me think he could step up.
With the injury to Michael Young, more questions started to pop up about who could possibly fill in. Whispers were that Javon could be the one, but up until this point he was completely unproven. He didn’t start, but found playing time and an early catch against Louisville. He looked confident and had a Miles Boykin-esque catch on a back shoulder side line throw. I was pumped and hoped this was a sign of good things to come.
I was blown away by his 2 catch, 85 yard, 2 touchdown performance last week. He made 2 great plays and looked confident and clearly a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.
What stands out to me even more than the plays is his teammates’ response to his touchdowns. THEY WENT NUTS, and for good measure. This is the type of celebration you give to a guy who you feel deserves it, not a guy who has been slacking. Needless to say, this is a guy I am rooting for.
2019 Season outlook
I am not sure what to make of his trajectory for the 2019 season. He has shown the play making ability and fills a huge void for the Irish right now. If he can continue to make plays, a wide receiving core of him, Chris Finke, Chase Claypool, Cole Kmet, and Tommy Tremble looks pretty dangerous. We will see this week how much he is inserted into the game plan, which should give us an indication of where 2019 is heading for the resurgence of Javon McKinely.
Also, his stats so far look eerily similar to Boykin’s before Boykin burst onto the scene......Boykin vs. LSU: 3 Catches, 102 yards, 1 td, one Sportscenter Clip...Mckinley in 2019: 3 catches, 96 yards, 2 tds, and one Sportscenter clip.....just saying.