At this time last year, asking that question would have merited a punch to the face. Today, Manziel v. Boykin warrants a chat.
Patterson debated that point when both of these guys were seniors in high school, and both wanted to come to play for him.
Gary took Trevone and, on the front end, was burned and roundly roasted for a tremendous recruiting blunder as Johnny Manziel became Johnny Football — a nightmare for opposing teams, and his university.
I’m not sure Gary could have handled John Football.
TCU was better off with Trevone Boykin but, for the sake of discussion, Johnny Football is still the better player. It’s splitting the finest of hairs, but there is more for Boykin to do to prove he was the better pick. He has the chance to make a Manziel-type impact without all of the stupid noise the latter created at Texas A&M.
At 8 p.m. Thursday, Boykin finally begins his final college season when the No. 2 Horned Frogs play at Minnesota to start the season.
Boykin’s career and persona are what is right about college football and sports. Parents, trust me, you want your son or daughter to wear his TCU No. 2 jersey. He is bright, charming, affable and has done everything the team asked him to do.
He gets it, whereas Manziel never did, and quite possibly still doesn’t.
The Boykins of the world merit celebration more than the drama mama, me-first antics of John Football when he was tearing it up at Kyle Field in College Station, and on Sixth Street in Austin. Watching Manziel struggle with the Cleveland Browns, it’s as if Karma herself has a locker next to his. He brought some of this on himself.
Boykin is not perfect, but the only thing he has brought on himself is opportunity because he never put himself above anything.
Boykin wanted to be a quarterback, but he agreed to play running back when Patterson moved him there three years ago. Then he moved back to QB when starter Casey Pachall was suspended before the Big 12 home opener against Iowa State in 2012.
Anybody remember Boykin’s first pass as a starting QB? It was intercepted, and it was not pretty.
To see where Boykin has come since that first start to today is as surprising as Manziel’s ascent in College Station. Nobody saw this coming, not even their respective coaches. If they say they did, they are lying.
Boykin lost his starting job the next year when Pachall came back, and when he was asked to play wide receiver, he played wide receiver. And he was the best wide receiver on the team.
When the team asked him to try quarterback again, he played quarterback again. And he was the best quarterback on the team. Now he may just be the best college quarterback in the entire country.
He may just win the Heisman Trophy, something Manziel did in 2012. A lot of people, me included, thought the Aggies would get smashed in the SEC. Manziel smashed the SEC, including that win at No. 1 Alabama.
He did things for A&M that no one had ever done in half a century, and he validated an entire program as SEC legit.
Boykin has the chance to have a similar effect at TCU, minus the noise.
Under coach Gary Patterson, TCU has produced first-round NFL draft picks, conference titles, broken into the BCS, won a Rose Bowl and earned an invite to the Big 12. There is not much left to do except for a player to win a Heisman Trophy, and for the team to win a national title — feats not accomplished since Davey O’Brien’s 1938 team.
In more recent times, the closest a TCU player has come to winning the Heisman Trophy was fourth place, by running back LaDainian Tomlinson in 2000 and by Boykin last season. The closest TCU has come to winning the national title was 2010, when it finished No. 2.
Whatever Boykin does this season, his performance last year will merit free food and drink in and around Fort Worth for life. He beat Oklahoma. He beat the living [bleep] out of Texas Tech and T. Boone State (Oklahoma State) and Kansas State. And he beat Texas, in Austin, for the second time in his career.
If he does just a little bit more, TCU is going to the playoffs, and it may just have a Heisman winner.
Then you can say, definitively, Trevone Boykin was a better pick out of high school than Johnny Manziel.
Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.