Boyd’s Play Brings Success to Crimson D-Line

About a Boy’d
Meredith H. Keffer

Junior lineman Joshua Boyd has filled the void left by senior Blaise Deal, who exited earlier this season due to injury. Despite his own injury freshman year, Boyd has had a strong presence on the defensive line for the Crimson in the 2011 frame, recording 20 tackles so far this season.

The setting was cinematic. In a pivotal game under the lights at Harvard Stadium, the Crimson called on junior Joshua Boyd after starting outside linebacker Blaise Deal went down with an injury. With 18,565 in attendance despite driving rain, Boyd stepped up.

Following a second quarter touchdown from junior Colton Chapple that put Harvard up, 14-0, Brown attempted to answer back, quickly pushing the ball to near midfield. On first down, the Bears’ running back attempted to bounce the run outside.

Boyd quickly read the flow of the play and pounced to make the tackle. Swinging his left arm around the runner, the linebacker struck the ball, popping it free for the Crimson’s first takeaway.

“That was a big play in the game,” Boyd said. “All week, we had been focusing on forcing turnovers after not having any takeaways in week one [against Holy Cross].”

From then on, the defense forced four more turnovers en route to an impressive 24-7 final. Despite coming in only after Deal’s injury, Boyd led the team with 11 tackles, including five solo efforts.


This impressive performance may just be the beginning for the junior linebacker. In the road game last weekend, Boyd recorded a team-high eight total tackles, as the defensive unit smothered Lafayette, holding it to only a field goal in a 31-3 blowout.

“On one hand, you could say [Boyd] has been the most pleasant surprise on the team this year,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. “But I’m not surprised … he’s always been a big hitter, but now he can do it all. In my opinion, he is one of the best five linebackers in the Ivy League.”

While Boyd has played consistently over the last two weeks, his contribution to the team over the last three years has been anything but.

Joining the team in 2009, Boyd said he was prepared for his role on special teams and as a rotational player early on. But he was not ready for the leg injury that cut his freshman campaign short.

“He was down for a while,” said Eric Boyd, Joshua’s father, of his son’s injury freshman year. “He was disappointed.”

After an offseason of recovery, Boyd showed flashes of potential in the 2010 campaign while filling in for an injured Alex Gedeon, then a junior.

Boyd recorded a sack in each of the two games he started, including an eight-tackle performance in a week four win at Cornell, all while playing in an ankle brace.

“The experience I got last year playing in all 10 games and getting a lot of playing time in a couple of games definitely helped this year,” Boyd said.

After playing well in limited action last year, Boyd continued to push himself in the offseason, saying that he watched more film and lifted weights more often.

The Boston native also participated in the team’s summer program of workouts at 6 a.m. every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Following his workday at a law firm in downtown Boston, Boyd would come back for more drills and film study at night.


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