Posted: 8:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 6, 2013
It hardly seems fair to expect so much out of Pitt freshman Tyler Boyd. But after his performance against Florida State on Monday night, it's hard to temper enthusiasm.
I almost feel a bit for Devin Street, who had arguably the biggest game. After enduring a bit of indirect smack talk from Florida State, all Street did was go out, grab six balls, and record a game-high 141 receiving yards. That included a late 52-yard bomb and an amazing catch on third down in the first quarter to keep Pitt's touchdown drive alive.
Those types of performances, though, are a bit expected by Street so Boyd is the one that had everyone talking on Tuesday.
Boyd is a wide receiver, but the intriguing thing is his insane versatility. On the receiving end, Boyd caught a modest two balls for 26 yards, but one was an insanely athletic grab where he got an elbow in bounds. While he didn't make a huge impact in the passing game, it should also be noted that he was Pitt's second-leading receiver behind only Street.
Then there were the kickoff returns. After Lafayette Pitts failed to get much going, Pitt inserted Boyd in that role and he didn't disappoint. His three returns for 71 yards far and away led the team and included a nice 35-yard return where beating one more man likely would have resulted in a touchdown.
Boyd's biggest impact, though, was on the ground. He had three big carries on end arounds for 54 yards and was the team's leading rusher. That gave him 151 total yards on the night and his game was one of the few bright spots for Pitt.
His versatility is something to look forward to over the next few years. When's the last time you can remember Pitt having someone with his skill set and ability to do so much all over the field? Players like that just haven't come along very often in recent memory for Pitt and while it's too early to declare he'll be able to this with any regularity, playing that well against Florida State was extremely encouraging.
Pitt has often won games with star running backs, star wide receivers, and solid defense. What they haven't had much of, though, are the all-purpose athletes that can make a real difference in a game. The Panthers appear to have that with Boyd and he can really give Pitt a different dimension to their offense and special teams.
Maybe he can play defense, too.