Story from PRCC Athletics:
POPLARVILLE, Miss — Head coach Seth Smith and the Pearl River football team made a splash with its latest hire. Smith announced Wednesday that two-time NJCAA National Champion offensive coordinator David Boykin has been handed the reins to transform the Wildcat offense.
“Coach Boykin checked every box we were looking for,” Smith said. “He’s coached in this league for years. He’s won multiple championships and scored a ton of points. He’s a proven winner, and we are fired up about getting to work with him.
“He’s going to love these kids. He’s going to push them and he’s going to help them reach their full potential on and off the field. He’s a Wildcat, and we couldn’t be more excited.”
Smith believes getting the offense figured out is the missing piece for the Wildcats to take the next step as a program.
“I am beyond excited about the addition of Coach Boykin,” Smith said. “When we took this job, we wanted to lay a solid foundation — a culture built on attitude and relentless effort. Our kids show up every day, work their tails off and do it with great attitude. Our culture has been strong, our defense has been strong, but our one deficiency has been offense. Even during 2022, we won games, and it was enjoyable, but we only averaged 20 points per game. Had we averaged 30 or 35, who knows what we could’ve accomplished. This is a place that was built on the tradition of winning, and that has been our goal from day one — to revive this program back to that level of excellence.
“I take full responsibility for our lack of explosiveness on offense. It was also my responsibility to go out and find the very best offensive coordinator for this program. I owed it to these young men, to these coaches and this institution to do so.”
THE RIGHT FIT
Boykin wasn’t going to get back into coaching until he found the right fit. Then Smith called.
“I was looking for a great opportunity and a good situation. I thought I could bring something to the table and help these guys get back to the level that Pearl River is known as,” he said. “Coach Smith is going to turn the offense totally over to me. I wanted all the pressure to be on me so that if we fail, then it is me who fails. I want Pearl River to get back to the style of offense that they had in the early 2000s. So much of what we did at East Mississippi originated at Pearl River.
“Pearl River is a 19-time conference champion and a two-time National Champion. It was the blueprint of JUCO football for a long, long time. That’s what we’re looking to get back to.”
Smith’s energy was something Boykin really appreciated.
“Coach Smith is a super energetic person,” he said. “You can tell that the players love him. He does a fantastic job. It’s easy for guys to buy into playing for a coach of that nature. I think I can bring a lot of different experiences to this program. Coach Smith can bounce some things off me, and maybe I can do the same for him.”
The Pearl River offense will have a brand-new look under the direction of Boykin.
“We’re going to be a no-huddle, up-tempo spread offense,” he said. “We want to be fast, physical and explosive. Those three components make an offense successful. That’s what we will hang our hat on. We want a physical brand of football.”
The Wildcats will seek out a very specific type of player in the recruiting offense.
“We have to find guys that fit our system, and the guys who fit this system are the very best players in the country. We also want to recruit kids that want to be at Pearl River. I want guys who buy into what we’re doing. I want that student-athlete to want to be there and be part of what we’re doing.”
Pearl River’s defensive unit has been one of the best in the country over the last few seasons. Boykin hopes to have his offense match that.
“Our goal is to raise the level of the offense to where the defense has been,” he said. “I’ve watched enough film to know they’ve been really successful on defense. You have to be good in all three phases of the game to be a championship caliber football program. That’s our goal — to bring an offense that will be explosive, can score points and put us on a competitive level to win games.”
Boykin had a simple message for the Wildcat faithful — get ready.
“I want the fans to know we appreciate the support,” he said. “They have to buy into what we’re doing. I can tell you that we will put a product on the field that they’re going to be extremely excited about.
“We’re going to score points and be successful, so pack the house and get your popcorn ready.”
Before Starkville, he had success as the offensive coordinator at Louisville under legendary coach MC Miller. The Wildcats compiled an impressive 46-12 record in his four seasons leading the offensive charge, including an unblemished 16-0 season in 2013 in which they averaged 40 points per game.
Boykin spent 2008 as the tight ends coach at North Alabama after three seasons as head coach at Caledonia in 2006-07 and 2009. Boykin first coached under MC Miller at Noxubee County from 2003-05. The Tigers went 28-10 in those seasons and were a mainstay in the 4A playoffs.
Boykin’s coaching career began at Central Academy — first as an assistant and then as the head coach.
In addition to sending numerous players to the four-year level, Boykin has coached several players who have made appearances in the NFL, starting with offensive lineman Derek Sherrod in 2006. Sherrod had an All-American career at Mississippi State before becoming a first-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2011. Boykin coached current Philadelphia Eagles star A.J. Brown and Super Bowl Champion and Kansas City Chief Willie Gay Jr. while at Starkville.
At East Mississippi, Boykin coached Kirk Merritt and Dontario Drummond, who have spent time on NFL rosters, as well as current New York Jet Jason Brownlee.
“Nina has been a rock throughout my entire coaching career,” Boykin said. “I have a super supportive family. The supporting cast of a coach is a must. They’ve been nothing but phenomenal over the years. They’re all looking forward to becoming a Pearl River Wildcat.”
Boykin played baseball at East Mississippi in 1990-91, earning his associate’s degree. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State before completing his master’s degree in educational leadership from the Mississippi University for Women.See a typo? Report it here.