Last Chance U’s Rakeem Boyd hoping for an NFL chance

Arkansas running back Rakeem Boyd hopeful for a chance in the NFL after an injury-plagued senior season.

The NFL was ready and waiting for Rakeem Boyd after his stellar junior season where he ran for 1,133 yards, a whopping 6.2 yards per carry and eight touchdowns. Even more impressively, those numbers came on a bad Arkansas football team that finished 2-10, showing Boyd can be productive with little help around him.

“Junior year man, if I had went out, they were talking about late first, early second,” Boyd told FanSided discussing his draft prospects.

Boyd stayed in school partly because he was listening to his family, who wanted him to accomplish something that was rare for the Boyd family.

“There’s probably one person in our family [who got a college degree] and my mom thought it was smart enough for me to graduate so I went ahead and did it,” Boyd said.

Senior year did not go as planned for Boyd on the field. He suffered a bone bruise in week two against Mississippi State that he never fully recovered from. His roommate also got COVID-19, ultimately resulting in Boyd deciding to opt out and miss the final two games of the season.

Boyd finished with 309 yards and three touchdowns — his worst season by far of his three at Arkansas. The down year and resultant drop in NFL draft stock has not diminished Boyd’s confidence in what his value will be for whatever team takes a chance on him.

“A steal, people know what I can do,” Boyd said. “My first year at Arkansas I almost hit 1,000 [yards], second year hit 1,000, then my third year had a rough ending but as a whole career total, they’re getting a steal at the end of the day. I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment.”

That long time included a stop at Independence Community College after a failed freshman year at Texas A&M. Boyd got his grades up and made a name for himself on Last Chance U, which did not come naturally.

“I really didn’t like the camera following me around,” Boyd said. “I’m not a camera guy, I had to get used to it. But at the end of the day it helped me out, so I had to get used to it. Basically showed the world what I could do, I motivated a lot of people. Now when the camera comes around, I’m normal.”

That camera could come back again in the NFL for Boyd. The list of late round or un-drafted free agent running backs who have had lengthy careers is long. Green Bay’s Aaron Jones finished fourth in the league with 1,104 yards last season after being a fifth-round pick in 2017.

“I’ve basically accomplished most of my goals. We just gotta keep writing this story. The book is still open, now it’s the next page,” Boyd said.

Boyd is training regularly and has his health back now to go along with his confidence. He needs one more chance.

Published at Fri, 09 Apr 2021 21:31:47 +0000

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