MATTHEWS, N.C. - Gastonia (N.C.) Ashbrook product Jheranie Boyd claims some freakish attributes. Are his hops and his speed legit?
"It's true. I have a 44-inch vertical leap but no one seems to believe it unless they've seen me jump," Boyd said at the Five-Star Academy Saturday afternoon at Matthews (N.C.) Butler High School. "People ask me that all the time. How do I jump so high? But with the leg press you sit down and jump up. My friend and I have competitions with the leg press. I don't know where it came from."
"I have a cousin and an uncle that went to the NFL," continued the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder. "So I think that's where the athletic side comes from."
But where does he get his wheels?
"I was just timed running a 4.45-second 40-yard dash," the talented junior, who finished seventh in the state last spring as a sophomore in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.32 seconds, added. "I'm not sure, I guess it's just working hard in track."
The Tar Heel State product also squats 495 pounds. What are the attributes that have some coaches enamored?
"My explosiveness," Boyd said. "I like to block and have big blocks. And my jumping ability, they like that too. My ball skills are pretty good as well, when the ball goes up in the air, between my height and jumping ability I feel I have the advantage and I have good hands. I can also return kicks and punts at the next level if needed."
He's picked up eight offers thus far – North Carolina State, Maryland, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida and Alabama – and schools like Ohio State, Michigan and many others are starting to take notice. Pete Carroll from USC called his coach the other day. Things are about to blow up for the talented wideout.
"I thought about going to some of these combines, but my coaches and other college coaches said I don't have to go to them because they can see what I can do on film," he pointed out. "I might go to one but I don't want to risk anything. If I go to one, it will probably be the NIKE Camp at North Carolina if I'm healthy."
In fact, Boyd was going to show off his jumping ability on Saturday but is nursing a sprained ankle and didn't want to risk further injury. But he does have a tape where he goes one-on-one against a friend in a dunking contest that shows off his hops.
"Once people see that, they believe it," he said. "I play small forward in basketball and average 14 points, 10 rebounds and about 3 or 4 blocks and assists. I like basketball and think it helps me in football a lot but I'm not pursuing it. Football is my first love."
Boyd has come out of nowhere essentially to become a national recruit. Sometimes players are discovered at schools where D-I talent is rare, other times they emerge at camps and sometimes it just takes persistence with a highlight tape. Joseph Johnson, who helps kids out in the Charlotte area acting as a mentor, repeatedly sent e-mails to Rivals.com asking us to look at Boyd's highlight tape. One look and clearly everyone was impressed.
"Things are happening fast now," Boyd said. "Clemson just offered this week and Oregon called my coach and said they will be offering by the end of the week. And I'm hearing a lot from Illinois, Miami and other schools."
So is an early decision in the works?
"No, I don't think so," he said. "I'd like to have a big senior season and then take official visits to some of the places I can't drive to. I'll look at schools anyplace, south or north. I lived in Chicago for around 12 years so I don't care about the cold. I want a school with good academics that throws the ball a lot. I'm just taking it all in right now."
Boyd caught 47 balls for 1,151 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. He also returned a kick for a touchdown.