Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Boykin Focused On Beating Michigan Each Day In Practice

August 10, 2018
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Notre Dame receiver Miles Boykin enters 2018 with high expectations after making the one-handed snag last year to win the Citrus Bowl. 

The 6-foot-4, 228-pounder is getting preseason attention, and Boykin knows he has to build on his 12 catches for 253 yards and two scores from 2017.

However, the excitement of becoming a starter and a focal point of the offense hasn’t registered to this point. 

“The excitement hasn’t hit me yet,” Boykin stated on Thursday. “It’s about grinding each day and being the best you can. For me, it’s about going out there and beating Michigan every day on the practice field.”

Brandon Wimbush will be tasked with getting the ball to Boykin, and the senior receiver has faith in the senior quarterback. 

“Brandon is a completely different person,” explained Boykin. “He’s the leader of this team and the leader of this offense. We all trust him. He’s going to go out there and make a play. We have to make a play for him. He’s going to make every throw, and he’s a tough kid, especially when that red jersey comes off.”

Boykin will be counted on to make plays for Wimbush, and it’s a role he’s comfortable with as he’s taken on a leadership role during the offseason. 

“I’m one of the older guys on the team and one of the last guys in my class,” said Boykin. “Guys will come up to me all the time and ask me about school and class. My roommate is Kevin Austin Jr., so we’ll have conversations about things that have nothing to deal with football. We talk about breaks, when we get to go home and school. 

“It’s a blessing to be in a position to mentor a kid like that.”

While the catch against LSU still has hype around it, Boykin has put that in the past and is working towards making more like it this season. 

“I was excited to make it, but you have to come back to reality a couple of days later,” Boykin explained. “The reality is I’m still a college football player and trying to make it to the next level.

“The grind doesn’t stop because you make one catch. You have to keep making strides every day.”

The grind includes picking apart his own game. Boykin has made big plays over the last eight months, but on Thursday, he dropped a deep post route that would have likely been a touchdown. 

“A lot of people don’t realize we’re harder on ourselves than other people when we make a mistake,” Boykin said. “I went out there today and made a couple mistakes. I’m going to be harder on myself than any coach could be."

Boykin hasn’t been the only receiver raising his game this offseason. Senior Chris Finke is a guy Boykin believes is on pace for a big 2018. 

“Finke is a baller,” Boykin stated. “You guys are going to find that out this year. Finke can straight out ball. He makes every play, and we trust him as much as any player on the team. On third down, he’s going to make that play for us. 

“He came in as a walk-on, and I knew he could play as a freshman. It’s crazy to see his transformation over the last four years to become a starter.” 

Opposite Boykin will be junior receiver Chase Claypool, who could very well be the X-factor for Notre Dame’s offensive success. 

Claypool recorded 29 catches for 402 yards and two scores in 2017 but battled consistency issues. 

“His combination of size and speed is out is something I’ve never seen before,” stated Boykin. “He’s out of this world athletically.” 

How does Notre Dame get Claypool to reach his potential? Boykin knows the answer. 

“If you have seen him mad, he plays well when he’s mad,” laughed Boykin. “This camp he’s been focused 100 percent of the time, and he’s made a lot of plays for us. We’re going to need it during the season.” 

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