Football journey: Josh Boyce

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rookie wide receiver Josh Boyce grew up in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later starred at Texas Christian, so being drafted by the New England Patriots in the fourth round put him a bit out of his comfort zone.

Part of what has eased his transition to a new region, and a higher level of football, has been a bond developed with fellow rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson.

"It's great to have somebody else going through it with you," the 22-year-old Boyce said. "We hang around each other all the time."

That can mean spirited competition in the Madden video game, or taking their interest in shoes (e.g. Jordan's) to a higher level.

All three have played more than most Patriots rookies receivers compared to past years, with Boyce's playing time the most limited (53 snaps on the year) of the group. The speedy target, also known for his on-field smarts, has one catch for 24 yards.

This is his football journey:

When he first started playing football: "My dad got me started in the fourth grade. I was pretty young. I liked playing basketball when I was younger, so he put me in football too."

First positions: "Quarterback and cornerback."

Favorite teams growing up: "I liked the Lions because of Barry Sanders. It was more Barry Sanders than the team. It was the way he played."

Role models: "My parents [dad Travis and mother Jacqueline] and my brother [Travis Jr.]. My brother and dad taught me how to be a man. And my mom taught me to never leave your loved ones, always stick by their side no matter what."

Memories of Copperas Cove High School, also Robert Griffin III's alma mater: "Going to the state championship back to back; that was fun. I played both ways, on defense and offense."

Enrolling at TCU: "It wasn't too far from home, a couple hours away, so I could still see my parents and things like that. Also, it's a good program. Gary Patterson is a great coach."

Top memories at TCU: "The West Virginia game last year. We were down by seven with about a minute left, and I caught a fade for [94] yards to tie it, and then caught the 2-point conversion [in double overtime] to win it. And when we beat Boise at home; we were the first team to do that in a long time. I did the same thing. The Rose Bowl was great too, just to be there. We were the underdog, having gone to the Fiesta Bowl the year before and lost. We got back to the Rose Bowl, 13-0. It was great."

Drafted in the fourth round by the Patriots: "I just feel blessed that God has given me this opportunity. It's been great, business, all about football. You have to stay on top of your things, your playbook, and what you have to do. We're not in school anymore, this is our job. It's not like college where you have a scholarship."

Most challenging moment in football: "I'd say just getting used to the NFL. It's a big difference -- speed, knowledge, things just happen so much quicker than they did in college."

What he loves about football: "It's the adrenaline, coming out and playing in front of crowds. I really feed off that. Just in the locker room, having fun with your teammates and working hard every day, knowing everyone has the same goal."

Summing up his football journey: "Just blessed to be able to be playing football from a young age, and achieving my dream. Everybody wants to play for a long time, and hopefully I can keep my head down and keep working, and keep working some more, and make plays when it's time to make them."