Boykin delivers first pitch for Rangers, takes swings at Heisman questions

Trevone Boykin threw out the ceremonial first pitch Wednesday night at the Texas Rangers’ game.

He better get used to the fuss.

The TCU quarterback could be in the spotlight all season, not only as the face of the Horned Frogs’ bid to reach the College Football Playoff, but also the subject of a Heisman Trophy campaign.

The senior from West Mesquite became the favorite this week for college football’s most prestigious trophy.

“I didn’t see that,” he told reporters after his celebrity turn.

But what does he think about it?

“We need to win games is what I think about it,” he said. “Right now, we’re not the same team we were last year. We’ve got to grow guys up on defense. We have to be better on offense. This is our second year — we’re a veteran offense now. I feel like we should play to our potential. With that, if the Heisman Trophy comes, I’ll be very blessed, and my family will be, too.”

Boykin’s pitch was high but into the glove of TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle, whose College World Series and Big 12 championship team was also recognized on “TCU Night” at Globe Life Park ahead of the Rangers’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Boykin smiled about the pitch.

“Yeah, I didn’t bounce it,” he said. “I didn’t 50-Cent it. I feel pretty good about it. I’m going to keep the ball forever. I’ll never let this one go. It’s the first one.”

Schlossnagle enjoyed the experience, too, catching the ball at the plate as eight of his players — Nolan Brown, Dane Steinhagen, Garrett Crain, Derek Odell, Brian Howard, Mitchell Traver, Ryan Burnett and Brian Trieglaff — got a firsthand view on the field. Many of the other members of the team were away playing professional or amateur baseball.

Schlossnagle said he can’t judge Boykin from a football coach’s perspective but is impressed by him personally.

“My favorite thing about him, as far as I can tell, is he’s just a great teammate,” Schlossnagle said. “That’s the best thing that can ever be said about anybody. He comes around the baseball team a lot — all those football guys think they can play baseball. He has an open invitation to be around the baseball program. I’m excited about the season he has a chance to have.”

TCU football coach Gary Patterson was also recognized on the field before the game. He said with a smile that Boykin has a conditioning run waiting for him Thursday before he leaves for four days at the Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La.

Boykin said he wants to pick up all kinds of knowledge from each of the Mannings — Archie, Peyton, Eli and Cooper.

“I’ll be like a sponge with those guys and ask as many questions, soak up as much information as I can,” he said. “All of them, not just [Peyton]. It’s Eli and even the brother who doesn’t play — how do you deal with it? It’s just questions like that.”

Boykin said he is recovered from surgery on his left wrist and called it “nothing major,” but he did say it was part of the reason he didn’t work out with a private throwing coach in the off-season.

He said he is back to throwing as well as before the injury, but has been working on throws over the middle.

Maybe he’s also been thinking about how to handle Heisman questions. There will be a lot between now and when the season starts for a player who ended up fourth in the voting last season after his first full season at quarterback. On July 20, Boykin will be one of the TCU players available for interviews at Big 12 Media Days in Dallas.

“It’s something that every player grows up dreaming about,” Boykin said, answering another Heisman question. “You always want to be either the person that wins the national title or one of those guys that wins a major award. To be mentioned with guys like Tim Brown, people that have won a Heisman in the past, when you mention guys like that, it’s an honor and a blessing to be even thought of in that category.”

The Heisman campaign may get bigger every week. But it won’t be him promoting himself. And it won’t be him doing anything different, he said.

“I still would be who I am today,” he said. “I don’t think I would change. I would still be the same kid — I would laugh, joke around with teammates like I do now. It’s all about having fun and winning games, and the more games we win, the more fun we’ll have, and all the trophies and stuff will come with it.”

Get used to hearing that.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407

Twitter: @calexmendez

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