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Two-way standout at L.A. Jordan has matured into prolific passer
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That 2006-07 season saw Jordan finish 3-7 and Boyd finish with seven touchdowns and 20 interceptions, along with 1,810 yards. Like most young players, his emotions sometimes got the best of him
"He'd often cry after some losses," Jordan coach Elijah Asante said, "But he's an emotional kid
Fast forward to today. The Bulldogs are 7-4 and made history after defeating Fremont in the opening round of the City Section playoffs. After being ousted at this point the last two years, the 21-12 victory was the school's first at the 4A level and it came after the Bulldogs earned their highest seed ever at No. 5.
As the team matured, so did Boyd. When mistakes came, he'd immediately move on to the next play and stay focused. Even when he threw a season-high four interceptions against Mater Dei on September 25, his poise was evident to those who watched him throw a state record 73 passes that night.
"He's still an emotional kid but he's controlling it a lot better than he has in the past," Asante said, "It's been a process and he's matured a lot."
The personal growth has matched his growth as a quarterback as the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Boyd has become one of the most prolific signal callers in the City's history. Entering the Bulldogs' game against Crenshaw this week, he's ranked third all-time in passing yardage (8,241) and fourth in touchdowns (71).
It's partly been a reflection of being mentored by Asante, a former quarterback at Eastern Illinois and with the semipro Los Angeles Falcons, where he won 10 championships, and also from him limiting mistakes by changing his focus.
"In 10th grade, I was trying to go deep too much," Boyd said, "In 11th grade, I was trying to go short and deep. This year, I'm reading defenses and watching college football more."
The improvement has been evident. 446 passing yards and three touchdowns against Mater Dei. 424 yards and six touchdowns against Bell. And against South Gate in the regular season finale, Boyd had a day that resembles something out of a video game.
In the 63-7 victory, he passed for 575 yards - the third highest single-game total in City Section history - and eight touchdowns. For good measure, he also ran for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Leading up to the game against Crenshaw this week, Boyd has passed for 3,932 yards - good for No. 2 in the state - and a state-leading 41 touchdown passes to go against 14 interceptions.
You almost forget that Boyd was voted the City's best defensive lineman last year as he racked up 11 sacks and six fumble recoveries among his 72 tackles. This year, he's racked up 99 tackles, a team-high eight sacks and two fumble recoveries against double coverage most of the year.
By playing defense, he said, "it gives you an advantage because you know what to expect. You know what the line is going to do and their options are."
It's the kind of numbers that makes USC glad that he's suiting up for them in the fall. In addition to defensive end, he could see time at linebacker or tight end.
The versatility is nothing new to those who've seen him since his Pop Warner days at Ted Watkins Park in Watts. His uncle, Quincy "Q-Ball" Nance, saw it firsthand as his coach for two years.
"He hated to lose so he would do anything to win a game," Nance said.
He would play Boyd at cornerback, wide receiver, nose guard and safety in addition to quarterback and defensive end. No matter where he played, he dominated his position.
"He's the best all-around player I've ever seen come out of Watts," said Nance, who's seen a lot of players in his 16 years of coaching.
But in his young nephew, he also saw a concern for his teammates. Instead of tearing down them down when they missed assignments, he would encourage them to get ready for the next play.
That has translated to his role on the Bulldogs where as a co-captain, he addresses the team after every game. Along with fellow seniors Delvon Purvis and Eric Hunter, the positive feedback has been a big help to freshman teammates Patrick Wooten and Raymond Ford.
It's perhaps the biggest benefit of Boyd's success. Not only does he provide inspiration to his younger siblings and joy to his mother Helen, but he's giving another positive light to the Watts community.
Just one more stage in his evolution from Pop Warner standout to an unforgettable City Section two-way player to a future Trojan representing the best of Watts.