After not challenging for an open starting job throughout spring practice, sophomore cornerback Noah Boykin intends to transfer from Notre Dame, according to multiple reports. Irish Illustrated first reported Boykin’s plans.
Unlike classmates TaRiq Bracy and Houston Griffith, Boykin did not see the field in his freshman campaign. He remained behind both this spring as they competed for the starting boundary cornerback job, this despite Boykin’s 6-foot-2 frame giving him some natural gifts that may have made sense along the sideline. With senior Donte Vaughn expected to fully recover from shoulder surgery this winter, Boykin may not have been in the two-deep by the end of August.
As a consensus four-star recruit who shocked Notre Dame with his Signing Day commitment in February 2018, Boykin was the final piece of a class that maybe always should have expected a cornerback transfer. After the Irish staff failed to sign a single cornerback in 2017, it corrected course with five signees the next cycle — DJ Brown and Joe Wilkins joining the aforementioned trio, though Brown has since moved to safety and Wilkins to receiver.
Boykin was the rare instance of a genuine Signing Day surprise. Formerly a Maryland commit, he entered National Signing Day widely-expected to sign with Florida. If there was a last-minute change of heart, it would be to Virginia. Even the Irish staff had presumed the class would not include Boykin, until he chose Notre Dame during his ceremony.
Notre Dame’s pursuit of Boykin went beyond the football field, even more than usual, and in a bit of a reversal of recruiting norms.
“One of the things that impressed with, and maybe this doesn’t happen everywhere, we weren’t certain about Noah and his ability to come to Notre Dame and be a great fit until after his admissions meeting,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said upon finishing that National Signing Day. “The feedback that we got from admissions in terms of his interview really sold us on this was the right place for him.
“… We know about his football ability. He was one of the best players at the (Offense-Defense All-American Bowl), has got a confidence about him at that corner position. He’s a natural corner, and just gives us great flexibility and depth at that position that we’ve been lacking for so long.”
Boykin’s transfer lowers Notre Dame’s scholarship count to 86 expected this fall, needing to be no higher than the NCAA limit of 85 before the season begins.