TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin, a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, has a strong arm and a soft heart.
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Anybody who believes athletes don’t have hearts hasn’t yet seen the impromptu act of kindness displayed by TCU quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Trevone Boykin prior to Saturday’s game at Iowa State.
As a team captain, Boykin joined the other Horned Frogs captains along with Iowa State’s captains at midfield for the coin toss. Fort Worth Star-Telegram photographer Paul Moseley hurried onto the field to shoot it.
What followed is captured by Moseley both on film and in his Facebook entry:
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"The TCU captains are there plus a special guest of Iowa State, a little girl in a wheelchair. They toss the coin, all the players come over to see the girl, but one player, TCU QB Boykin, took the time to kneel down and I hear him say, ‘What’s your name?’ I was incredibly touched. Who but a true champion does that just minutes before a big game?"
The girl is 7-year-old Abby Faber, who was chosen to be a "Kid Captain" for the game from Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa, where she has physical therapy.
"She usually uses a walker," her mother, Jenny Faber, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram from her home in Ankeny, near Des Moines. However, Jenny and Steve Faber thought it would be easier for Abby, who has a form of cerebral palsy, to use a wheelchair for the pregame ceremony and coin toss at the game in Ames.
Jenny Faber said she was unfamiliar with Boykin but now her family will be following him "the rest of the season." Faber says her daughter was so excited to get to shake a player’s hand.
"It’s really cool that he would take the time to do that before a big game," the mother said.
When she woke up Sunday morning, Abby was still excited by her encounter with Boykin, her mother said. Even Monday, at school, teachers and others said Abby was wearing "a big smile" because of her brush with a sports celebrity who is considered among the contenders for the Heisman Trophy.
"She’s heard us talking about it and says, `I’m famous,’" Jenny Faber said.
After No. 3 TCU (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) beat the hometown Cyclones 45-21, it was probably a lot easier for the Iowa State faithful to appreciate Boykin’s Heisman-like performance in torching their team. Boykin completed 27 of 32 passes for 436 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.
He also led the Frogs with 74 rushing yards and a fifth touchdown. On the season, Boykin has thrown for 2,539 yards and 25 touchdowns with just five interceptions and has rushed for 440 yards and five touchdowns.
The Star-Telegram published this video of Boykin’s interaction with the little girl and other Iowa State fans.