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Boykin's big day

When Jarrett Boykin came to Virginia Tech, his teammates were so fascinated by the size of his large hands that they created plenty of nicknames for the wide receiver. But this season, Boykin (known also as Meat Hands or Meat Hooks or Boat Oars) has drawn attention for attributes other than his big paws.

Boykin, a sophomore, had a career-high 164 yards receiving on six catches in the Hokies' 38-10 win Saturday over North Carolina State. But the standout performance was no anomaly. Boykin's big day was indicative of his development as a pass catcher and the connection that has developed this season between him and quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

"I thought he made a couple great adjustments to the ball and got those big claws up there and grabbed it and came down with it," Coach Frank Beamer said of Boykin's performance against the Wolfpack. "He had big plays in the ballgame. Huge plays."

Beamer added: "He’s very, very dependable. Get that ball up in the air around him and we’ve got a pretty good shot of getting it with him.”

At 6 feet 2 and 215 pounds, Boykin has size, and he also has sure hands and good body control. The combination of those attributes has helped account for his 715 receiving yards and five touchdowns this season.

Only eight players in Virginia Tech history have surpassed 700 receiving yards, none since Ernest Wilford in 2003. In recent years, the Hokies offense has had talent but has failed to launch, particularly through the air. That has changed.

The emerging connection between Taylor and Boykin, while hard to distinguish empirically, has been apparent on many Saturdays this fall. Boykin had quality performances in the Hokies' win at Duke on Oct. 3 and in a blowout of Maryland on Nov. 14. He had six receptions for 144 yards against the Blue Devils and three catches for 118 against the Terrapins.

On Saturday, Boykin was Taylor's target on passes of 26, 35, and 42 yards. Boykin capped the Hokies' evening with a 38-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. He was wide open in N.C. State's injury riddled secondary, striding alone down the middle of the field.

"Today, I was just focusing on making plays," Boykin said.

But Boykin has made big plays throughout the season. And with his two years of eligibility remaining, Hokies fans have reason for optimism that Virginia Tech's big-play ability will continue to show up over the next few seasons in Blacksburg.

By Mark Viera  |  November 23, 2009; 10:43 AM ET
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