From retweet to redemption: Kris Boyd’s evolution

Ross Burkhart

Kris Boyd has taken on a veteran leadership role on the Texas defense, but it wasn’t an easy path to his senior season. Three years earlier, during a previous encounter with the Horned Frogs, Boyd’s mindset was something much different.

It was Oct. 3, 2015, when Boyd, who was a freshman at the time, reached the locker room at Amon G. Carter Stadium after the Longhorns embarrassingly found themselves trailing 37-0 — at halftime. 

Then, Boyd took out his phone, opened Twitter and saw a tweet from a Texas A&M fan suggesting he transfer to the in-state rival Aggies. The tweet, which mentioned Boyd and former Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson, read:

“Whenever y’all are ready to transfer… We’re ready. #Gig’em.”

Boyd then retweeted the post, an action that caused an avalanche of backlash. As a result, he was labeled by many as an immature athlete who had no loyalty for his teammates. Boyd later issued an apology for the retweet.

Now, as Texas meets the Horned Frogs once again during Boyd’s senior season, his work ethic or quality as a teammate is no longer in question. 

“I think Kris Boyd is a superfreak. Super athlete. Super athletic,” safety Brandon Jones said prior to the start of fall camp. “And he’s just a great person on and off the field, and he’s a great teammate. He’s one of those guys that’s all-in, die-hard football player. You’re going to get his all 24/7. He’s a great leader.”

In the three years since the infamous retweet, Boyd has established himself as a reliable cornerback for the Longhorns and a leader of the team’s secondary as a result of his maturation into one of Texas’ most experienced athletes.

During his sophomore and junior seasons, Boyd recorded 108 total tackles and four takeaways. Through just three games this year, he has one interception, five pass deflections and ranks third on the team with 16 total tackles.

Historically, Texas has seen a crop of talented defensive backs move through the program, beginning with the creation of ‘DBU’ — also known as Defensive Back University — during the mid-2000s. Boyd now uses his position on the team to honor the Texas greats that paved the way for players like him.

“It’s a blessing, to be honest,” Boyd said after last Saturday’s win over USC as he donned a sleeveless black shirt with the letters D-B-U spread across the chest. “I used to grow up watching all the older cats play, and it kind of was a dream for me to be a part of this DBU legacy and my cousin, Curtis Brown, him being a part of it, it actually means a lot to me.”

Brown, who played for the Longhorns between 2007–2010 and later spent three seasons in the NFL, was part of some of the first groups of defensive backs at Texas to ever sport the
term ‘DBU.’

“I told (Michael) Huff and him before the (USC) game, ‘No matter what, I’m leaving it all out there on the field, and this game is for y’all. All of y’all. The whole legacy,” Boyd said.

During his time at Texas, Boyd has evolved into a veteran who sets the standard for many Texas newcomers like freshmen safeties Caden Sterns and B.J. Foster, similar to the way he views previous Texas greats.

“What he’s done is, because he’s making plays, he’s helping the younger guys,” defensive coordinator Todd Orlando said Wednesday. “You can teach all you want and coach all you want, but for a young guy to see an older guy do it the way that it’s being taught and to have results and have success speaks louder than we could ever speak.”

What previously began as a controversial start to the career of one of Texas’ most talented prospects in recent years has now become a story of redemption and prosperity.

Through his ongoing dedication to his teammates and high work ethic on the field to Longhorn fans, Boyd has achieved a huge personal goal of his — having his name attached to the DBU legacy that many others have carried before him.

“It was a dream to come here and follow their footsteps,” Boyd said after the USC game. “It’s actually crazy. I’m living my dream. I’m blessed.”