This star high school athlete made a bold switch in schools and sports

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In Gainesville, Daryus Boyd is known as a basketball player. His family — known for their loyalty to Gainesville High School.

So, it came as a shock when Boyd decided to leave GHS last spring to play football at Buchholz High.

Looking ahead to college and following his older brother’s lead, Daryus and his family knew they needed to change schools after three years with GHS. 

“There was no love there,” said his father, Ernest Boyd. 

The family had become frustrated with the coaching style and felt as if the players were not the priority, he said.

Ernest Boyd, 45, said the request from his son sounded outlandish at first. Daryus’ older brother, Rudy Bibb-Boyd, went to GHS from 2012 to 2016. His mother, Yona Boyd, was a booster. She helped in the concession stand with their daughter Kayla, who is now a sophomore at GHS.

“It was a hard conversation because we were highly involved from just being there [at GHS] for so many years,” he said.

Daryus is now a Bobcat, playing the defensive end position at Buchholz. He originally requested to transfer after he became a two-sport athlete his sophomore year at Gainesville High. Boyd played only basketball his freshman year. 

Buchholz high school football
Daryus Boyd and Colsen Orth discuss the game during a timeout in the second quarter. (Trey Johnson/WUFT News)

“Personally, as a dad, I don’t want to hinder my son or nothing like that,” Ernest Boyd said. “I want him to be able to enjoy life and to come to me for anything.”

As a two-sport athlete, Daryus Boyd was having trouble fitting in with the athletic program at GHS, Ernest Boyd said. 

So, Daryus switched schools. In the eyes of his peers, he switched sports too.

Colsen Orth, also a defensive end for Buchholz, grew up playing travel basketball with Boyd for the Gainesville Basketball Club. 

“He was the big kid on the other team,” Orth said. “I was the big kid on [my] team, and we always went against each other. So, playing [with] each other now is pretty cool.”

His friends still recall his dedication to the game of basketball.

“He used to be just a basketball kid,” said Orth, who has an offer from Long Island University in New York. “He really embraced football this year.”

Buchholz head coach Mark Whittemore found a spot for Daryus on his varsity defensive line, which he considers to be the team’s best overall unit.

“Our defensive line has five kids who are Division I caliber,” he said. 

Whittemore said the entire defensive line at Buchholz has either an offer or interest from colleges across the nation. Junior Gavin Hill, listed as a four-star recruit on 247sports.com, already has offers from West Virginia University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Arkansas State University, Troy University, the University of Central Florida and Vanderbilt University. 

Daryus Boyd is gaining some recognition as a football player, too. On Oct. 2, he took a visit to Georgia Southern University. He also has interest from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University.

Yet, the senior is often recognized for what he does in basketball, the sport in which he was more developed earlier in his high school career. Whittemore even acknowledged what Boyd can do on the court.

“He’s one of the area’s best basketball players,” he said. 

Boyd is listed on MaxPreps at 6 feet, 4 inches tall, weighing 210 pounds. Whittemore said that size translates to the football field.

“He’s got a body that’s made for playing the position he’s playing, which is defensive end,” Whittemore said. “[He’s] very twitchy, long, athletic and not afraid of contact. He’s a physical kid.”

Orth, who often lines up right next to Boyd, also said that size and quickness helps at their position.

“Not a lot of guys that are his size are as quick as he is, so that just ups his game to another level,” Orth said. “All offensive linemen are just too slow, and he’s pretty quick.”

Gainesville High School Ties

Daryus Boyd said he still values his time at Gainesville High School. 

“I got so much friends and family, everyone I went to middle school with went to GHS,” he said. “Coming to Buchholz is like coming to a different side. It’s like going to your rival and still trying to keep it cool with your homeboys. It’s real difficult.”

High school football
High school football players Ryan Nolan and Daryus Boyd pose for a jersey swap. (Trey Johnson/WUFT News)

The decision to leave was a little easier after he told his best friend Ryan Nolan, a senior free safety and wide receiver at GHS.

“I told him to go,” said Nolan, who is committed to play football at Army at West Point next year. “He was going for basketball, and they got a better basketball team. So, I told him to go.”

Daryus also said that GHS head football coach Dock Pollard was very understanding when he heard the news.

“I wish he would have stayed with us,” Pollard said. “In the short time that I was with him, we grew a good relationship.”

Pollard said that the color of Boyd’s uniform did not matter and that their relationship would always be a good one. Boyd also said he would call Pollard about anything. 

This year’s rivalry game between Buchholz and Gainesville was a little different for Boyd. After three years as a student athlete with GHS, Boyd had never been on the winning side of this matchup. 

That all changed after Boyd joined his new team in defeating the Hurricanes 34-3 in a cross-town rivalry football game this season. Now that he was a Bobcat, the win against his former team was proof he had made the right choice. 

The high-adrenaline, competitive field turned into a reunion of sorts. When the postgame huddles broke, players from both teams got together in the end zone to take pictures, and Boyd caught up with his former teammates. 

Daryus said Thursday’s game was personal.

“I enjoyed the game [Thursday] night, just playing my old team,” he said. “[There was] a lot of trash talk going back and forth, a lot of emotions. I enjoyed the moment seeing everyone in Gainesville attend the game. [It was] just a great atmosphere.”

While Daryus is at Buchholz, his sister Kayla, 15, is still a student at GHS.

“We’re divided in the house,” Ernest Boyd said. 

Daryus said he still planned to support his sister, who plays basketball at GHS. He said he knows she will do the same for him.

“It’s forever love for GHS,” he said.

Now at Buchholz, Daryus is happy. Though the family used to be all decked out in purple for game days, times have changed. 

“I like how that black and gold looks on me,” Daryus said.

About Trey Johnson

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