Former Notre Dame WR Miles Boykin not worried about short résumé at NFL Combine

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

INDIANAPOLIS — Miles Boykin has work left to do.

His biggest tests will come Saturday at the NFL Combine. During his time in Indianapolis, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Boykin wants to prove that he’s more than a big-bodied wide receiver from Notre Dame.

Boykin wants to log a 40-yard dash in the range of 4.4 seconds, which would be faster than the time clocked by former Irish running back Dexter Williams (4.57) on Friday. He wants to show how he can create separation from defensive backs at the NFL level. Boykin knows that’s one of the question marks on his draft stock.

“The drills we do are there for a reason,” Boykin said. “I’m going to run my routes to my full ability. But I definitely think that it’s going to show up in the testing.”

After the combine, Boykin has work left to do at Notre Dame too. He’s one course away from fulfilling the requirements of a marketing degree, which he plans to receive in May. He’ll be headed back to campus for his final class after spending time with XPE Sports in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., training for the combine.

“When I went to Notre Dame, I had two things that I wanted to do,” Boykin said. “That was graduate and win a national championship.

“We had a chance to win a national championship this year. It didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to. We had a great season though. I’m graduating in May. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish for Notre Dame. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

More could have meant returning for a fifth season at Notre Dame. In the aftermath of the 30-3 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal, Boykin had a tough decision to make.

“The Clemson game only made me want to come back more,” Boykin said. “I was really emotional after the game. If I would have decided right after the game, I would have probably come back to school — but just to win a national championship. That would have been my only reason for coming back.”

Boykin deliberated with his family and announced his decision eight days after the Clemson loss. He became one of 27 wide receivers to opt out of his remaining NCAA eligibility to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

“I put enough film out there,” Boykin said, “played enough positions and played against better players.”

Boykin has bet that his résumé, albeit somewhat short, will be enough to get him drafted. He became a full-time starter only last season at Notre Dame. Boykin took advantage of the opportunity by leading the team in catches (59), receiving yards (872) and receiving touchdowns (8).

Those numbers account for more than 70 percent of the production in those categories for Boykin’s entire Irish career. He finished his time at Notre Dame with 77 catches for 1,206 yards and 11 touchdowns. Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown, one of the top wide receiver prospects in the 2019 draft class, did roughly as much in 2018 alone (75 catches for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns).

But Boykin wasn’t worried about his limited experience.

“I played against great players, and I’m confident in my abilities,” Boykin said. “Some of the things that I can do are very limited in this draft class. I’m going to prove that (Saturday) through my testing.”

By Friday afternoon, Boykin said he already had met informally with every NFL team. His Friday schedule included roughly nine formal meetings, the first being with the New England Patriots. While he can sell his physical attributes on the field Saturday, he wants teams to understand what else he would bring to an organization.

“I know my coverages. I know my assignments. I know the details,” Boykin said. “I’m not going to be someone that’s going to embarrass the team. Nothing on my record. I’ve never been in trouble. I’ve never been late to meetings, suspended, anything like that. I’m going to bring character and the passion that I play with to the game.”

Boykin has used former All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson as a model for his game. An agent connected Boykin with his football idol recently and the two discussed playing the game as a big receiver.

“The biggest thing is separation at the top of your route,” Boykin said of the advice from the 6-foot-5, 237-pound Johnson. “Sometimes we’re not the fastest guys in the world, but we’re definitely going to be able to create separation at the top by being strong and physical.”

That strength didn’t necessarily show in the bench press workout Friday. Boykin’s 12 reps of 225 pounds slated him in a tie for 30th among the 42 wide receivers completing the lift. Former Irish wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown recorded 20 reps last year.

Boykin will need to do better in the other events Saturday, but he has no doubt that he belongs. There’s more work left to do.

“That’s why I’m here,” Boykin said. “I can compete with the best. I’m going to prove that on the field.”

Testing results

On Friday, Dexter Williams (5-11, 212) completed his on-field workout at the NFL Combine. Though his time in the 40 ended up being in the middle of the running back pack, he impressed in other events. His results are listed below.

• Broad jump: 130 inches (tied for 1st of 23 running backs)

• 20-yard shuttle: 4.16 seconds (2nd of 16)

• Three-cone drill: 7 seconds (3rd of 16)

• Vertical jump: 36 inches (T-6th of 24)

• 40-yard dash: 4.57 seconds (T-11th of 23).

• Bench: 17 reps (T-18th of 26)

Former Irish offensive lineman Alex Bars, who is still recovering from a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, did not participate in any of the workouts. He weighed in at 6-foot-6 and 312 pounds.

Notre Dame’s Miles Boykin (81) makes a catch for a touchdown as Florida State’s Hamsah Nasirildeen (23) defends him during the Florida State-Notre Dame NCAA football game Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.