#98 Ja’Darien Boykin
Position: Defensive End
Hometown: Gray, GA
Thoughts: Boykin was a name that came up shortly after Satterfield and his staff were hired in at Louisville. Satt didn’t need to have Chuck Noll or Buddy Ryan watch film to see that he had some large gaps on defense where they needed talent, quickly. They targeted some high profile players out of the gate selling a fresh start and playing time and the four star Boykin was sold. Although he faced some academic challenges that forced him to reclassify to 2020, Boykin never wavered in his commitment and was quoted back on Signing Day about how painful it was to watch the Cards defense last year knowing he could have been there to help, and how he couldn’t wait to strap on the pads this year. Boykin was an early enrollee back in January to get a head start on his Cardinal career and even got in a few reps in the shortened Spring practices.
Boykin was slightly undersized at the end position in my opinion, but I’m happy to see he’s already added 10lbs since he graduated high school back in 2019. I assume the staff will look to keep him in that 245-250 range this year and continue to work on his speed and reflexes. A huge selling point in his game is his reaction time, or as Coach Brown calls it “quick twitch”, meaning his ability to get a good jump off the ball. In the film below you can see he consistently has a half step or full step jump on the tackle, resulting in 13 sacks and a couple forced fumbles his senior year alone. He’s fast, he’s aggressive, and he should be a nice piece to a defensive line who should have good depth on the ends. I think we see up to six guys play on the ends this year during the season, and Boykin will be one of them.
A growing trend among Cardinal football players this spring has been pushing cars and trucks up and down the road as far as they can and then letting out a little scream, typically without a shirt on. While this may be “new” to some it just reminds me of my days back off Preston Highway. A guy pushing a car down the street sans shirt was called “Tuesday”…not a workout. Anyway, keep grinding fellas.