PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Brandon Boykin closed out his collegiate career with a standout performance that included a touchdown reception, a punt return for a score, and a safety.
The one play that will endear him to fans of his new team, the Philadelphia Eagles, was a tackle.
Boykin perfectly read a screen pass, flew in from his cornerback position and blasted Keshawn Martin in the end zone for a safety on Michigan State's first offensive play in the Spartans' 33-30 triple overtime win over Georgia in the Outback Bowl.
On a day the Eagles announced they're retiring Brian Dawkins' No. 20, they chose Boykin in the fourth round of the NFL draft.
If Boykin plays with the same tenacity as Dawkins, it'll be a great pick.
"I do enjoy it," Boykin said about hitting. "That's something that I get overlooked for, for me being a smaller corner and playing the slot. People say you've got to be able to tackle, and my ability to cover and tackle are up to par."
The 5-foot-9½, 182-pound Boykin, the 123rd overall pick, can play in the slot or cover outside receivers. He's a skilled returner and even played a little on offense for the Bulldogs.
Boykin won the 2011 Paul Hornung Award winner as the nation's most versatile player after recording 55 tackles, including 11 for loss, with three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a safety as a senior. He also had 850 kickoff return yards and 180 punt return yards. On offense, Boykin had 103 yards rushing with a touchdown and five catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
"Brandon is really a dual-role position player in that he can play corner and he can play also the inside/nickel position," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He's done those both at a high level of competition at the college level. Add to that he was a returner. He was one of the best dual returners in college football this year, so we welcome that skill onto our football team.
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