Top rookies: East Lansing wide receiver Evan Boyd continues to become a CMU talent
Evan Boyd hasn’t gained weight since last football season.
But when he looks in the mirror, he knows there’s a major difference ahead of his senior season at East Lansing High School.
Boyd, who is verbally committed to Central Michigan University, enters his senior season as one of the state’s top receiving rookies and, for the first time, at the center of the Trojans’ offense.
“It was hard to break in,” Boyd said. “My second year, Andrel Anthony was here and he ended up in Michigan. There was also a bunch of juniors ahead of me, so it’s not easy to break in here.
“But I learned a lot. I’m a team player. It’s about winning and making memories with my brothers. I learned how to block. I learned what to do without the ball. This year , I look forward to doing more.
Last season, Boyd caught 27 passes for 375 yards and three touchdowns, missing five games with a broken collarbone.
The collarbone healed without surgery, giving Boyd pristine health for his senior season. After a full offseason, Boyd is bigger and better than ever.
“I’ve lifted consistently for the past six months, but I’m the same weight…about 195,” Boyd said. “But I gained a lot of muscle. My bench is up 35 pounds to 260. I feel more athletic. I can move better. Last year I ran a 4.8 (second) 40. This year I ran 4.54.
“And I keep growing. I’m at 6-3 ½, and I think I have half an inch left to develop.
Which means his game also has room to grow.
“He’s still a unique work in progress,” said East Lansing coach Bill Feraco. “He is 6-3 ½ and continues to grow. He is explosive. It is long. He has significantly improved his speed. Working on these physical qualities has been very beneficial to him.
“He needs to work on the little intricacies of running patterns, running routes. He understands very well that there is work to be done to get in and out of routes quickly. It has a great length, and sometimes it takes more work than for the little guys. He has very good ball qualities. He will go get it. All of these things combine to make him a receiver with great potential.
Offers: Enlisted in Central Michigan on Navy, Eastern Michigan
2021 Highlights: Evan Boyd missed five games with a broken collarbone during his junior season, but still finished with 27 passes for 375 yards and three touchdowns. He helped East Lansing reach the playoffs the past two seasons, including a district title and an 8-1 record in 2020.
Boyd spent most of his time playing running back before entering high school.
“He’s just a unique player,” Feraco said. “When he was younger he was running back, but then the growth spurt hit. I don’t know if he’s finished. He’s going to start filling out. He worked a lot in the weight room, but he still looks slim.
“He is a great athlete, a very good basketball player. We also work with him on free security. He has the reach, the athletic ability. He must grasp the nuances.
Despite his growth spurt, Boyd is still the “little brother” in more ways than one. His older sibling, brother, Ethan Boyd, is a redshirt freshman at Michigan State University. Ethan Boyd is a 6-foot-7, 315-pound offensive lineman.
“He was always bigger than me,” Boyd said. “He harassed me a bit. I was always shorter. I didn’t know I was going to be that tall. I grew up late. I thought I would be 5-11, maybe 6 feet. But then, going into ninth grade, I just started growing.
The Trojans were 7-4 in 2021 after an 8-1 record in 2020. Last season, East Lansing lost to Big White, DeWitt and Holt before falling to South Lyon in the playoffs.
“We’ve got a good group of 24 to 25 guys that I’ve been playing with since seventh grade,” Boyd said. “We can make things happen. We have the parts. If we put them together, we can have a race. I want to beat all the teams in our region. I want to beat DeWitt.
“Personally, I’d like to finish with over five touchdowns, 500 receiving yards, 30 catches. I’m more of a possession guy. I’ll get the ball. I can jump. I’m excited for my last season here.
He doesn’t plan on waiving his commitment to CMU, even though he has the breakout season he’s been waiting for. Boyd chose CMU over the Eastern Michigan and Navy offerings.
“A lot of people extend recruiting or pull it,” Boyd said. “At the end of the day, you’re going to be playing one of the toughest sports. You don’t go there for the looks. When you have opportunities like this, you work for them and you take advantage of them.
“I have a great relationship with the coaches at Central. It was my first offer. I’ve been talking to them for over a year. The first time I went there, I was comfortable. I also wanted to stay close to home, but not too close. I want that college experience, but it’s still only a 55 minute drive from my house.
Feraco doesn’t expect Boyd to change his mind, even if other schools rush ahead of the signing date.
“Once he made his commitment, he wasn’t looking for more attention from other places,” Feraco said. “This sense of responsibility is admirable.
“He’s got a lot of potential because of the unique set of abilities he brings. He could go over 6-4. He can run. He’s explosive. He’ll put on more muscle. He can be a receiver all quite unique for Central.
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