One of Devonte Boyd’s goals at UNLV is to become a better wide receiver than his somewhat namesake, Devante Davis.
Boyd is off to a great start, accomplishing something Tuesday that Davis never did, earning Mountain West Freshman of the Year.
“I was surprised to hear the news, but I’m very happy because it’s a big accomplishment,” Boyd said in an email. “Before the season, I wanted to start and get to 800 yards, so I reached both of those goals. Devante had a big impact on me and helped me so much. I lived with him during the summer, and we spent a lot of time during the season talking football and about the right way to do things. He’s like a big brother to me, and I’m going to miss him a lot.”
Davis, who is a senior and appears headed to the NFL, hands the reins to Boyd.
Winning the Mountain West honor might not be the last time Boyd, a Basic High School graduate, is rewarded for his season. He also stands a good chance to become a Freshman All-American.
He caught 64 passes for 973 yards, both UNLV records for a freshman. Ryan Wolfe previously held the marks with 55 receptions for 911 yards in 2006, which earned him conference Freshman of the Year.
Wolfe went on to become the Rebels’ all-time leading receiver in both categories, catching 283 passes for 3,495 yards. Davis hoped to challenge him in career yardage, but a right wrist injury cost him five games, leaving him with 186 catches for 2,785 yards.
Maybe one day Boyd will challenge Wolfe’s records. What he did this season also was good enough to land him on all-conference second team, joining UNLV senior offensive tackle/guard Brett Boyko.
Three Rebels were named honorable mention — Davis, junior safety Peni Vea and senior center Robert Waterman.
Other than Boyd’s honor for top freshman, the major Mountain West awards went to Colorado State senior quarterback Garrett Grayson for Offensive Player of the Year, Utah State senior linebacker Zach Vigil for Defensive Player of the Year, Air Force senior kicker/punter Will Conant for Special Teams Player of the Year, and Colorado State’s Jim McElwain for Coach of the Year.
It doesn’t appear McElwain will defend his award. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley was in Fort Collins, Colo., on Tuesday night meeting with McElwain regarding the Gators’ opening.
As for Boyd, he is waiting to see who his next coach will be, with Bobby Hauck having resigned after this season. If indications are accurate that Bishop Gorman High School coach Tony Sanchez will succeed Hauck, speculation is wide receivers coach Cedric Cormier would be retained from Hauck’s staff.
Boyd singled out Cormier for his influence on his development.
“He stays on me like a father,” Boyd said, “and makes sure I know there are always things I can work on and do better.”
Contact Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.