Seattle Seahawks

TCU QB Trevone Boykin wants to be in Russell Wilson’s “hip pocket”

Seattle quarterback Trevone Boykin passes during a rookie minicamp workout on Sunday in Renton. Boykin, who signed as an undrafted free agent, says his playing style is very similar to Russell Wilson and he hopes to learn a lot from the Seahawks’ starting quarterback.
Seattle quarterback Trevone Boykin passes during a rookie minicamp workout on Sunday in Renton. Boykin, who signed as an undrafted free agent, says his playing style is very similar to Russell Wilson and he hopes to learn a lot from the Seahawks’ starting quarterback. The Associated Press

Trevone Boykin had a chance meeting the other day with Russell Wilson.

The undrafted rookie free-agent quarterback was arriving for rookie minicamp at Seahawks’ headquarters just as Wilson was departing after the day’s veteran workouts.

The would-be understudy told Seattle’s brightest star Thursday: “I am going to stay in your hip pocket.”

“I see a lot of similarities,” said Boykin, who starred at Texas Christian. “He makes good decisions and makes smart plays. He does a lot with his feet. That’s a guy that is smart and you can learn from ...

“I’m just really ready to get around him, to meet him more and feel him out.”

This past weekend, Boykin made a concerted and at-times impressive effort to earn more access to Wilson.

The dynamic quarterback split snaps with former Oregon and Eastern Washington passer Vernon Adams and ex-Skyline High School QB Jake Heaps. For now, those are the only three QBs in the running to be Wilson’s backup for the 2016 season.

“Gosh, all three guys did a really good job. They’re really good players,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Sunday upon the minicamp’s end. “Jake has been with us a little bit more, so he has a little more familiarity. He did very well, threw the ball very well, really in command of the position.

“I thought Boykin did a really good job. And Vernon did a nice job, too. So we’ve got to figure some stuff out, which is great. That’s what we hoped for.”

Carroll particularly liked how Boykin’s familiarity with center Joey Hunt, his TCU teammate and Seattle’s sixth-round pick, meant fewer botched snaps in this minicamp compared to previous springs.

Boykin, wearing No. 2, showed a commanding presence, strong arm on throws down the field and to the sidelines plus an affable smile. As the weekend went on, he took more of the snaps.

“I’ve seen him for a couple years. His versatility and his style of play is so similar to Russell’s,” Carroll said. “He’s got a big arm. He’s a very creative athlete. He’s got great instincts and great vision. His ability to run and make people miss and get out of trouble is very similar to what Russell does.”

Carroll is intrigued by having a backup who plays the same way Wilson does, for a change.

The 22-year-old Boykin is listed at 6 feet tall and 213 pounds — one inch taller and seven pounds heavier than Wilson.

“I thought that the opportunity to have both those guys in the same offense, it gives us a chance — if it works out, and we’ve got a long way to go — if it works out, to maintain continuity (with Wilson) with one of the backups,” Carroll said.

Boykin was here because Tarvaris Jackson wasn’t. Jackson was Seattle’s starter in 2011, the year before the team drafted Wilson and he’s been Wilson’s veteran backup since then. He is weighing talks from the Seahawks and presumably other teams, but remains unsigned. Carroll has stated he’d prefer a veteran experienced in the art of “mental reps” and being ready each week to play — even though Wilson hasn’t missed a practice let alone a game in his four seasons as Seattle’s record-setting starter.

But with each week that goes by with Jackson away, and now after this weekend of Boykin opening some Seahawks’ eyes, the coach is at least imagining what life would be like with a Wilson-like backup.

“Tarvaris has been a fantastic kid for us over the years, but they’re not in the same style,” Carroll said. “I love Tarvaris and would love to have him back — if that’s the way we go in time. But I think Boykin is really special in that regard because he’s so unique, and he’s unique in how we like to play our quarterback.”

Boykin had just two options after not getting drafted: Sign with his hometown Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent; or answer Carroll’s call to go thousands of miles north and west.

Boykin knew that unlike Dallas, Seattle had zero QBs on its roster behind a franchise cornerstone.

“I was just blessed for Coach Carroll to call me and give me the opportunity,” Boykin said. “Being behind a guy like Russell Wilson and being able to learn from a guy like him I feel like there is no better place for me in the NFL.

“It was pretty much a no-brainer.”

Boykin finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2014, but couldn’t duplicate it in 2015 for TCU. He was then involved in a bar fight before the Horned Frogs’ Alamo Bowl, was arrested and suspended for his final college game. He didn’t get drafted.

“It probably had some effect,” he said. “But ... I’ve moved forward, pushed past it and surrounded myself with better people. I’m doing better things, and I’m excited for Coach Carroll to call me and bless me with this opportunity.”

Adams was with the Seahawks this weekend for a tryout; he has another one coming up with Washington but said he hoped to sign and stick with Seattle before then.

Adams is 5 foot 11, 200 pounds. People constantly compared him to Wilson at the NFL combine in February and throughout the months before the draft. Adams impressed Carroll with his passing efficiency in his lone season last fall at Oregon — when he wasn’t playing through a broken bone on his throwing hand, that is. Prior to that, Adams lit up the Football Championship Subdivision at Eastern Washington before transferring as a graduate.

His style also being similar to Wilson’s is why he was with the Seahawks this past weekend.

“If you follow the logic here, he plays much in the same kind of formula that Russell has played — mobile, playmaking, big arm, efficient guy,” Carroll said.

Not only did all 32 teams pass on making Adams one of 253 draft picks, they all chose not to sign him to a free-agent deal.

Did that surprise him?

“Not at all, not at all,” he said. “I’m just blessed. This is the furthest anybody in my family has ever gone, drafted or not. I’ve got two degrees, all that.

“I’m just blessed to get this opportunity.”

Adams said the biggest challenge has been spitting out the 11 or so words in Seahawks play calls to teammates in a huddle. At Eastern Washington and at Oregon he didn’t huddle and relied on giant cards with goofy pictures on them to relay formations and coaches’ signals to make play calls at the line immediately before snaps.


Carroll explained the Seahawks moving Justin Britt to center as a quest to get the five best linemen in the lineup.

Britt was the starting right tackle in 2014 as a rookie, including in Super Bowl 49. He was Seattle’s starting left guard last season.

“It’s so early … it’s an opportunity for us to mix our guys and see how we can get the best guys on the field,” Carroll said. “Justin is the guy that’s been with us the most and can be in command of the most information and all that. We’re going to take a good look at him at center and see how that works out.

“So at this time of the year, we’re trying to get more information. The last couple days that he’s been there, he’s looked very comfortable with it.”