Trevone Boykin wasn't supposed to become a star.
Two years ago, there weren't any "Heisman moments." There weren't any championships to fight for. There was only a bumbling quarterback struggling to make completions -- all legs, shaky arm, not much to expect.
Who would've thought that the same quarterback would one day be breaking records, hoisting trophies, receiving invitations to award ceremonies and grabbing the hearts of the nation with the words, "What's your name?"
In what feels like a flood of "good things," it's easy to forget who Boykin used to be. Perhaps even more impressive than Boykin's success in the last two years is the dramatic turnaround of his career.
Let's look back at the transformation he experienced at TCU.
Pull the slider from right to left below for a quick glimpse of Boykin's improvement over the past four years.
Boykin the Backup (2012)
Mouse over the photo to see Boykin's stats in 2012. On mobile, turn your phone to landscape for a more optimized view.
With Casey Pachall seemingly locked-in as starting quarterback for TCU's first year in the Big 12, Boykin served as backup. The first game Boykin ever played at TCU was a 56-0 routing of Grambling State, when he took over from Pachall in the third quarter. Boykin showed a glimpse of potential, completing all eight of his passes and throwing a touchdown, too.
But that October, Pachall was arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, and the starting job was thrust onto Boykin. His first game as a starter was against conference opponent Iowa State. His first pass...an interception. The Frogs lost 37-23.
Still, TCU would make it to a bowl game that year, playing against Michigan State and then-freshman Connor Cook at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. The game ended with the Frogs taking a heartbreaking one-point loss. That year, Boykin finished 3-6 as a starter.
Boykin the Everything (2013)
Mouse over the photo to see Boykin's stats in 2013.
Boykin had an identity crisis of sorts in 2013. Pachall got a second chance from Gary Patterson to come back to start at quarterback again, so Boykin found himself splitting time all over the place -- a little wide receiver, a little quarterback, a little punt returner.
But somehow the starting job would fall back in Boykin's lap, with Pachall going out with a broken arm early in the year. That's when "2013 Boykin," as Frog fans like to say with a shudder, came to play. Needless to say, the 4-8 season of 2013 was a low point for TCU, losing to its tougher Big 12 opponents like Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Against Oklahoma, the Frogs couldn't even get a first down until the third quarter.
When the season ended and Pachall graduated, Boykin was anything but the sure choice for quarterback in 2014. One thing Frog fans did know, Johnny Manziel's backup Matt Joeckel was transferring from Texas A&M to TCU, and the Frogs were getting a new pair of offensive coordinators. As for Boykin, well, no one really knew what was going to happen to him.
Boykin the Star Quarterback (2014)
Mouse over the photo to see Boykin's stats in 2014.
After the woes of the 2013 season, Frog fans found themselves cautiously tiptoeing into 2014. No one knew who the quarterback was going to be and the word on the street was that Patterson would be using both Joeckel and Boykin as a combo. So the big preseason quarterback debate began: Who should be the starter?
Then came the season opener against Samford. The man who walked out on field to start for the Frogs was none other than Boykin. His first pass...incomplete. But that would soon be forgotten. First down after first down followed, and the Frogs' opening drive ended with a touchdown. Frog fans were baffled. Whoever that guy was that played last year, wasn't the guy on the field that day. After Joeckel threw a pick six in the fourth quarter, the winner of the starting job was clear.
The installation of the Sonny Cumbie-Doug Meacham offense, paired with Boykin's hard work in the offseason, paid off. And if the 2013 season felt like nightmare, the 2014 season felt like a dream.
Blowout wins. Playoffs. Heisman. It took a few weeks for those words to become synonymous with TCU, but it happened in due time. TCU did have one loss -- the emotional Baylor match that restarted the rivalry between both institutions -- but other than that, the Frogs appeared to be charging their way to the championship. And Boykin was a flaming hot Cheeto, averaging 354.5 yards of total offense per game to rank third in the nation.
Still, the Frogs would be snubbed from the playoff, only to turn the shoulder chip into a 42-3 romping of No. 9 Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.
And all this, led by the guy who couldn't get a first down against Oklahoma a year ago.
The year 2014 was Boykin's time to rise. By 2015, everyone knew his name.
Boykin the Legend (2015)
Mouse over the photo to see Boykin's stats in 2015 (prior to the Alamo Bowl).
Boykin's "star quarterback" status was well-established in 2015, and he didn't disappoint. That year, he'd break Andy Dalton's school record in career touchdown passes and take reign in multiple categories like career passing yards and total offense. Boykin was just too good, enough to get a high-five from Dana Holgorsen and a letter from Bill Snyder.
Even after being stricken by an ankle injury to add to the Frogs' laundry list of hurt players, Boykin still posted comparable numbers to put him in the running for the Davey O'Brien award and even garner one first-place vote for the Heisman.
But perhaps the game that truly defined Boykin was Iowa State -- not for breaking a record or flipping into the end zone, but for reaching down to greet wheelchair-bound Iowa State fan Abby Faber. All he said was, "What's your name?" But for whatever reason, that moment made everything about Boykin just seem to come together.
Four years of both failure and triumph led to Boykin not only becoming a great football player, but an even better person. He isn't going to just be a quarterback that would enter and leave TCU as an afterthought.
He's going out as a legend.
Now Boykin could've taken the easy road. He could've sat back, accepted who he was, played a few years as a backup in odd positions then graduate and disappear into oblivion.
If there's anything that can be learned from Tre, it's this: No matter how rough, embarrassing, confusing, frustrating or disappointing life can be, it's not impossible -- and never too late -- to turn things around.
No, Boykin wasn't supposed to become a star.
But he did it anyway.