Photo: Gordon Deloach/TexasHSFootball

In mid-January, the National Football League released a list of the players that declared to enter the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft. Former Gilmer High School star Kris Boyd’s name was not on that list.

The 6-foot and 200-pound cornerback closed his junior season a near full-time starter after Holton Hill’s season-ending suspension. Boyd finished with 57 tackles — fifth in team statistics — and added a pair of interceptions. His 15 pass break ups was the most for a Texas player since 2011.

Boyd’s return to Austin, however, could offer the opportunity to improve his draft stock after some early 2017 season mistakes. It could also create one of the most terrifying defensive backfields regardless of conference.

Bastrop’s Antuwan Davis and South Grand Prairie’s Jason Hall will graduate in the spring and Hill, a junior, declared for the NFL Draft. In their shoes will step not only a more experienced Boyd, but also one of the most talented defensive recruiting classes in the last decade. Included in the equation of added takeaways is a pair of massive defensive tackles: Katy’s Moro Ojomo and Spring Westfield’s Keondre Coburn.

According to NCAA statistics, Texas was 42nd overall in terms of total defense. The Longhorns allowed more yards (4.753), offensive touchdowns (31) and yards per game (365) than every Power Conference team in the top 50 except three.

The Big 12’s Iowa State, the Pac-12’s Oregon, and the SEC’s South Carolina. Programs like Appalachian State, Boise State, Duke, and Troy were all markedly better. Texas Christian University, a conference rival, was inside the top 20 at No. 19.

Expect the Longhorns’ 2017 numbers to change dramatically with its most recent talent spike.

Former Gilmer star Kris Boyd celebrates after a play during a 2017 matchup with Baylor. Gordon Deloach/TexasHSFootball

Boyd will most likely assume the team’s right corner back position. Junior Davante Davis and former Nacagdoches star and sophomore Brandon Jones will be in the driver’s seat on the left and at free safety.

Hall’s position at strong safety, however, could be easily filled by either Angelton’s BJ Foster or Cibolo Steele’s Caden Sterns. That duo could also assume control of both starting positions turn Jones into a rangy interception-hunting ballhawk as a dime or nickel back.

Arp’s DeMarvion Overshown will likely play a part in Tom Herman’s decision making process. Three more four-star rated players — Houston Heights’ Jalen Green and Houston Lamar’s Anthony Cook and D’Shawn Jamison — could help make arguably the most versatile and interchangeable defensive back rotation in any of the Power 5 conferences.

Boyd, though, will be the wily veteran looking to improve his No. 21 ranking in NFL Draft Scout’s list of 153 qualified cornerbacks and help Texas slow the offensive firepower of conference foes Oklahoma and TCU and non-conference nemesis like Alabama and Clemson.

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