Khiryn Boyd is a Western Pa. kid now, but it wasn’t long ago that he called California home.
Boyd and his family moved to the North Allegheny school district from Bakersfield, Calif., in 2019 when Boyd was in eighth grade. The cross-country move was made for family reasons. Boyd’s uncle is former Steelers linebacker and Bakersfield native Joey Porter. Porter’s wife, Christy, runs an organization that assists adults with special needs, which is where Boyd’s mom works.
Boyd has been doing some “California Dreamin’” recently — during Christmas break, he’s planning on returning to Bakersfield for the first time since he left — and when he gets back to the Golden State, he’ll surely be relaying the story about how his golden dreams became reality.
“Tremendous” is how North Allegheny coach Art Walker described Boyd’s season. It’s difficult to argue with that assessment. Boyd, a junior wide receiver-defensive back, has been arguably the best player for the best team in WPIAL Class 6A. Last Saturday, Boyd hauled in a pair of touchdown passes in North Allegheny’s 35-21 win against Central Catholic in the championship at Norwin. It was North Allegheny’s first title since 2012.
“I’ve never won anything like this before. It’s amazing,” Boyd said afterward.
“Amazing” is exactly how Boyd’s quarterback described him. Fellow junior Logan Kushner connected with his favorite target for touchdown passes of 51 and 68 yards, both in the first half. On each of the plays, Boyd used his speed to get past the defense before hauling in the passes and trotting into the end zone.
“He makes plays every single game,” Kushner said. “He’s the best player on our team. He’s always open.”
Boyd had only one catch for 2 yards when North Allegheny edged Central Catholic, 7-3, on Sept. 23, but his impact was much more prominent in the rematch. In addition to his two long touchdown catches, Boyd also broke up a game-high three passes.
“We thought we could man up on everybody across the board, but Boyd hurt us today,” Central Catholic coach Terry Totten said.
Porter was there to take in his nephew’s performance. Boyd said he looks up to cousin and former North Allegheny standout Joey Porter Jr., a star cornerback at Penn State who is being projected to be a first-round NFL draft pick in 2023. Another cousin, Dwayne Taylor, also moved to the North Allegheny school district from Bakersfield several years ago. Taylor won a WPIAL triple jump title in 2021 and now plays football at Notre Dame College in Ohio.
Boyd had a strong sophomore season when he earned all-conference honors for the first time, but this fall has truly been his breakout season. Boyd (5 feet 10, 170 pounds) leads North Allegheny in receptions (40), receiving yards (700) and touchdowns (12) in addition to registering a team-best six interceptions from his cornerback position.
“I’m having so much fun,” Boyd said. “I just love playing the game. I’m blessed to have the talent I have right now.”
What Boyd doesn’t have at this point are any scholarship offers, this despite his excellent speed, outstanding production and the fact that he’s doing it playing in the state’s largest classification. He did take an unofficial visit to Kent State earlier in the month and is getting interest from a few other schools. His size might be a small knock against him, but chances are it’s only a matter of time before the college interest gets much heavier.
“He’s a big-time player,” North Allegheny coach Art Walker said. “He may not be as big or tall as a lot of other guys, but he has ball skills. He has the ability. He’s a Division I football player. What he did against a great receiver like [Central Catholic’s Peter] Gonzalez who is physically bigger than him. What he did against a great secondary. His return ability. I don’t know how you could go wrong giving a scholarship to a kid like him.”
Some offers would be great, but so would be winning a state title with his friends. North Allegheny plays at State College in a PIAA quarterfinal Friday.
Said Boyd, “For us to be where we’re at right now and the relationship we have with each other, it feels amazing.”