TCU receiver Josh Boyce has decided to forego his senior year and enter the 2013 NFL Draft. His decision to declare for the draft—along with defensive end Stansly Maponga's decision to do the same—probably put Horned Frogs fans in a bit of a funk.
Quarterback Casey Pachall is back with the team after a stint in rehab, and although his starter status isn't official, it is presumed that he will win the job in the spring as long as he continues to follow team rules. Pachall broke several of Andy Dalton's single-season passing records and could lead the Horned Frogs to a 2014 Fiesta Bowl berth if the stars and planets align.
There is a ton of potential at TCU, and yet Boyce is leaving. Boyce caught 66 passes for 891 yards and seven touchdowns last season—he was also an All-Big-12 honorable mention. So why leave for the NFL when there are several receivers ahead of him on the draft boards?
Boyce leaves as TCU's all-time leading receiver in touchdowns. He also is leaving with a diploma in his hand. That's why.
Sure, Boyce could increase his draft stock by sticking around for another year and maybe getting one of those fancy Fiesta Bowl rings, but he could also get hurt. Granted, all players can get hurt but sometimes the risk is worth it if you're close to getting that degree—which Boyce already has.
If Boyce came back for his senior year, he would be playing as a college graduate who is making money for TCU's football program, instead of making money for himself. There is the potential for him to increase his draft stock with a more consistent quarterback under center, but receivers like Marqise Lee will probably also be declaring early, and the competition will be just as fierce.
Fans hate to see players declare early, and their reasons are usually selfish. It's a shame that a player should even have to answer to fans when it comes to a decision that only impacts his life.
Boyce won't be an early-round pick—he looks like a Round 5 or 6 pick—but he'll be a great value for whichever team snatches him up.
Boyce is done with school in every sense of the word, and we wish him well.