Week 10: College football breakout stars
Week 10 of the college football season is in the books, and with it came many standout performances. Here are three players who had what could be breakout weeks as they take the next step in their progression.
Mark Pszonak contributed to this report
The skinny: While Murray’s recruiting process began to blow up during the spring of 2014, he made it known that he would quickly jump on a Florida State offer. He held true to his word with a commitment to the Seminoles soon after they offered in May. Murray has gradually seen an expanded role this fall. On Saturday, during a 24-20 victory at North Carolina State, Murray had the best game of his young collegiate career with nine receptions for 153 yards. This performance comes on the heels of a two-game stretch where Murray logged 15 catches for 249 yards, so it will be interesting to see if Murray can continue this level of productivity during the remainder of the season.
Farrell’s take: Murray was small coming out of high school but he was a good catch-and-run option for Florida State that projected as a reliable slot receiver. He caught a ton of passes during his high school career but he lacked great top end speed. Murray beat opponents more with his change of direction, precise routes and slippery nature than his speed in high school, and he’s starting to show that ability in college.
The skinny: Boyd took official visits to Texas, Texas A&M and Florida State before trimming his list down to the Longhorns and Aggies. Finally, in late January, he ended the in-state recruiting battle with a commitment to Texas. As a true freshman last season, Boyd showed potential while playing in nine games. This season, despite overall defensive struggles by the Longhorns, Boyd has continued to improve. On Saturday, during an important victory against Texas Tech, Boyd finished the game with seven tackles and a late interception that sealed the Longhorns' victory.
Farrell’s take: Boyd, who was ranked just outside of our Rivals100 at No. 114, was a two-way star in high school with good ball skills and return ability. He was the fourth-highest ranked recruit in Charlie Strong’s 2015 class and an important in-state get. We liked Boyd's range in coverage and his willingness to get involved in the run game. The biggest question we had about Boyd was with his solo coverage skills against players that worked well in space. We are starting to see Boyd put it all together, as those ball skills and tackling ability stood out this weekend.
The skinny: Hicks originally committed to Texas in February 2012, but then flipped to TCU that December. He redshirted during his true freshman season and then saw sporadic playing time in both 2014 and 2015. Hicks enjoyed the best game of his career on Saturday during a 62-22 victory against rival Baylor. He finished with 192 yards and five touchdowns on 26 carries, all of which were career highs. Hicks’ performance helped the Horned Frogs to their biggest victory of the season, which moved them to 5-4.
Farrell’s take: We had Hicks listed as an athlete at one time because he could do so much with the ball. We eventually switched him to running back because of his ability to pound the ball inside as well as bounce it outside and make opponents miss. Hicks was a huge flip for TCU and he was at the forefront of the movement of some prospects choosing programs such as TCU and Baylor over an offer from Texas. His development in college was delayed due to a knee injury he sustained in high school, but he appears on track now.