Rewind back to the Sunday following the Kent State game. Aaron Boyd was the talk of the town. Fast forward to the Friday before the South Carolina game, and the attention surrounding Aaron Boyd has cooled significantly.
Aaron Boyd is second in the number of total receptions for any Kentucky player on the season, trailing only La’Rod King. Boyd has 18 receptions on the season, eclipsing his production in the previous 3 seasons. The only problem is that 11 of those receptions came in one game. Since his headline stealing outburst against Kent State in the second game of the season, Boyd has only successfully caught 4 passes for a total of 32 yards. All 4 of those receptions came against Western Kentucky. Against Florida last Saturday, Boyd did not catch a single pass.
The lack of production last weekend can in part be attributed to the poor quarterback play of Morgan Newton. When looking at Boyd’s totals on the season though, 61% of his production came against one team, Kent State. Following the Kent State game, where Boyd had 11 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown, many fans wondered if Boyd was poised for a breakout season. Although he has still continued to be more of a factor than in any of his previous 3 seasons, the chatter and buzz around Boyd has seemed to quiet. Was the monster performance against Kent State a sign of things to come for Boyd, or more so the result of playing a weaker opponent? With the return of Max Smith tomorrow against South Carolina, will we see an increase once again in Boyd’s production? Boyd has been one of Smith’s favorite targets on the season.
I think the answer can probably be found somewhere in between the Kent State performance and the Florida performance. Boyd will continue to be in the steady rotation of quality receivers Kentucky has this season, but against the top tier competition throughout the rest of the SEC season, I think his baseline will be similar to his level or production in the non-Kent State games where Max Smith has played. In those 2 games Boyd had 3 (Louisville) and 4 (WKU) receptions for an average of 34 yards.
The return of Max Smith should signal the return of Aaron Boyd, at least as a 3-4 reception/30-yard kind of guy, and hopefully the return of points next to Kentucky’s name on the scoreboard. But will we ever see the Aaron Boyd we caught a glimpse of a few weeks ago again?