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January 9, 2009
COPPERAS COVE - Tanner Brock and Josh Boyce have been somewhat connected most of their lives.
The Copperas Cove seniors have known each other most of their lives, played youth football with and against each other, have each played in 45 varsity football games for the Bulldawgs, and were instrumental in leading Cove to at least the state semifinals three consecutive seasons.
So it's almost fitting that both committed to Texas Christian, where they will be roommates beginning next week in Fort Worth and, they hope, future Horned Frog standouts.
"We've been blessed to have athletes move on to play at the college and pro level," Cove coach Jack Welch said at a mock signing ceremony for Brock and Boyce on Wednesday morning. "These two fit in that mold."
Cove decided to have the ceremony to honor Brock and Boyce because both will already be taking classes at TCU and unable to attend national signing day Feb. 4. Both enjoyed the ceremony but emphasized that the day wasn't really about their individual achievements but rather the Bulldawgs' team success.
"It wouldn't have been a big deal if we didn't have anything," said Brock, a three-time first-team all-state linebacker who finished his Cove career with 693 tackles. "It is nice to have friends and family come out. I don't know, I guess everybody likes a little recognition."
Added Boyce, a wide receiver who caught 42 passes for 837 yards this past season for the 13-2 Bulldawgs: "It is a little special. We wouldn't be able to come back in February, so it was nice to get together and get this organized."
The pair will have at least one familiar face at TCU in Tanner's older brother, Logan, who saw limited action as a redshirt freshman tight end during the 2008 season.
"It helps to have him there," Tanner Brock said. "Just a person that's been there and can tell you how the system works and help show you around."
Logan Brock said the biggest benefit for Tanner and Boyce will be enrolling early.
"They will both have a good jumpstart on the program," Logan said. "Coming before their teammates, being able to learn the offense and defense will help them a lot.
"I'm real excited. For both of them to go up there is a real big deal. I've grown up with them both, and just to see them develop as they have is real special."
Now, the real question for Brock and Boyce isn't whether they can survive at TCU; it's if they can just survive living together.
Being diplomatic, Boyce - who was recruited by TCU as an all-around athlete - said, "It will help a lot to have Tanner there. Just someone to talk to and listen to that you know."
But Brock had a different outlook.
"We'll see when we get up there," Brock said, laughing and turning to Josh. "We'll see if both of us last the first semester. We might end up killing each other. He might kill me, I might kill him. They say it's a lot different living with someone than just being around them all the time. But I'm sure it will be alright."