Football, class kept Boyd busy

By Courtney Linehan

The summer before his senior year of high school, Arthur Boyd III squeezed into a van with high school coach Ted Ginn, Ginn’s son Ted Ginn, Jr., and more than half a dozen friends and teammates.

“They called us the Ginn Boys,” Boyd says. “We took two weeks and drove across the country, stopping at a bunch of camps, working out for different teams.”

It was an unorthodox approach to recruiting, but by the end the high school athletes had visited more than a dozen college football programs. The defensive lineman says the trip was a crucial factor in his decision to play football at Illinois.

Five years later, Boyd is slowly settling into life after football. Since Illinois’ season ended almost six months ago, he has transitioned out of the role of full time athlete. Yet Boyd – who finished his undergraduate degree in three years, is about to complete a two-year masters program in half that time and was president of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, all while meeting the demands of football – still has plenty to keep him busy.

Now, he’s gearing up for medical school.

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“People joke with me all the time asking how I do all that,” Boyd says. “I really don’t know. I guess it just happens.”

As an undergrad, Boyd majored in micro cellular biology, already planning for an eventually trip to medical school. He was only the second football player ever in his major, and says he could hear rumblings of doubt in his ability to handle the work. But he says no one directly told him to change majors.

Instead, he got used to all-nighters and loads of stress. He says he’d set mini-goals, breaking a long list of tasks into simpler ones: Finish the paper. Study for the test. Stay up for 6 a.m. weights.

While he was logging long hours in the classroom, Boyd saw diminished time on the field as a junior and even less as a senior. But he says he kept up the intensity as much as he could, treating each practice session as if it was a game.

“I had to make practice fun,” Boyd says. “Me and some other defensive linemen and linebackers would take bets on how many sacks each other would get, things like that.”

When his college eligibility expired, Boyd decided to give professional ball a shot. He hired an agent and began working out for teams, hoping to impress NFL scouts. But when the NFL draft ended, his name had not been called.

Boyd says he’s not sure how he’ll feel next fall when football season begins again.

“I’ll miss the comradeship of the players,” he says. “I don’t know how I’ll actually feel. I’ve been playing football since high school, so after eight years it’s got to be weird to have something you’re so dedicated to just done with.”

Now that everything is winding down, Boyd says he’s glad he sacrificed sleep to get everything he wanted out of college.

“I had very little time to do everything, but it all worked out,” Boyd says. “My experience was different, but I still got to do everything you do as a normal college student. It’s not like I missed out on anything.”