Program Spotlight: Bobby Floyd
By Brandon Yopp, NC State Media Relations
Getting on the field at NC State was a long, tough journey for Bobby Floyd. A senior safety in the Wolfpack backfield, his story begins years ago in Largo, Fla., with the fostering of an unbreakable bond with his father.
His dad, Bob Floyd, was a scholar athlete in both football and baseball at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. From a young age, he instilled a love of both athletics and competition in his son. It was a hunger that was not forced upon him by his father, something Floyd is especially thankful for to this day.
“From a young age I was always playing catch or something with my father,” said Floyd. “He had me involved in every sport, but it was because I wanted to be involved. He never forced anything on me.”
Floyd began playing tackle football when he was in the sixth grade, and soon found his way into baseball and basketball. He played a lot of small forward in basketball, and served as a catcher behind the plate during baseball season. When he got around to high school he moved into the outfield on the diamond.
Despite competing in multiple sports, it was always football that Floyd came back to. He watched Monday Night Football with his dad, and the desire to play on the collegiate stage soon found its way into his head.
“I’ve played every position on the football field throughout the course of my career,” said Floyd. “I started playing safety my freshman year of high school, but as a senior I was a linebacker and running back. I played more offense than anything else.”
Floyd’s experience as a safety came back into play when colleges began to recruit him. Most offered him as a safety, but several recruited him hard as a linebacker or running back. The idea of returning to the defensive backfield was something that he embraced.
“I always liked safety because I felt like I had a chance to always come up and deliver the big hit, which was something that I was good at and wanted to do,” said Floyd. “I like being able to be back there, see the whole field, and make plays on the ball.”
In time Floyd settled on Truman State, a Division II university in Kirksville, Mo. While he enjoyed his brief time there, he quickly realized during his first semester that he yearned for something bigger. As a kid growing up in Largo, Floyd spent his youth watching big time college football with his father, and the atmosphere at Truman State did not come close to the dreams he had played out in his mind.
“There are some really good players in Division II,” said Floyd.” I grew up watching big time football in Florida, and it was always my dream to play college football. Once I got there I felt like the football that I had played in high school in Florida was a bigger deal. It wasn’t the talent level or the coaching, more like the atmosphere was not what I had in mind. Aside from that I thought that I could play at a higher level, and I wanted to take on the challenge of moving my game up against top-flight competition.”
That Christmas when he returned home Floyd talked about his feelings with his father. After getting his support, he decided to pay a visit to his old high school coach, Jon Davis, father of former Wolfpack quarterback Jay Davis. Floyd let it be known that he wanted to play Division I football and that he was committed to walking on at a program and earning his way onto the field. Davis immediately put him in touch with former NC State assistant coach Todd Stroud, who set up Floyd’s official visit for the spring game during the following semester.
“I fell in love with the place,” said Floyd. “I really liked the fans and facilities, and the team really seemed like a family.”
Floyd moved to Raleigh and enrolled at NC State, joining the team as a walk-on with a goal of becoming a contributor. But things did not go as planned right from the start. Within a matter of months a new coaching staff was running the show at the Murphy Center. Instead of worrying about whether or not his position on the scout team would be in jeopardy, Floyd was convinced all of the student-athletes, himself included, would have the opportunity to start from scratch.
“I never thought that I wouldn’t be on the team,” said Floyd. “I was actually pretty excited about it because in my mind I felt like everyone was going to get a clean slate. I felt like the guys that maybe had an advantage over me because they were recruited by the previous coaching staff would now be on equal playing fields with me and that I would have an opportunity to prove that I could play.”
Those feelings were only cemented when he finally got to sit down with the new staff and hear it directly from his new head coach.
“I remember calling my dad after our first team meeting with Coach O’Brien,” said Floyd. “Coach said we were going to be tough, hard-nosed, and physical and disciplined, and that’s the kind of player I am. I called my dad and told him that I thought I would contribute to this team and that his philosophy for the team was exactly what I wanted to hear. I was very excited.”
From that point forward Floyd just continued to pay his dues and work hard every day in practice. In time it all paid off. In 2007 he saw action on the field in nine contests, most on special teams.
“It felt great,” said Floyd. “The goal for most walk-ons is to earn a scholarship, but when I came here my goal was to play. I told myself that if I contributed to this team and never earned a scholarship that I wouldn’t be disappointed. My dream growing up wasn’t to get school paid for. My dream was to play college football. To finally get on the field and play was a dream come true.”
Up until then Floyd had accomplished all of the goals that he had set up for himself. He was recruited and signed to a college football program, he transferred to a Division I team and he made his way onto the field and contributed. Now it was time for another goal – earn a start. That day came last season when the Pack took on Miami, and Floyd picked up a career-best 44 snaps from scrimmage.
“That was the best day of my life,” said Floyd. “I felt like I was representing my friends and family, and all of the people that had been there to help me. I also felt like it was a payoff for all of the hard work and dedication that I had put into helping this team and becoming a contributor. I really wanted to perform well in honor of my family and my teammates, just to thank them for supporting me all the way non-stop.”
The only person that might have enjoyed Floyd’s start against the Hurricanes more than him was his father – a fact not lost on Bobby.
“My dad was amped up,” said Floyd. “He was jacked about that start.”
When talking about his football career and his life in general Floyd regularly speaks of those that have helped him carve out his own niche and allowed him to accomplish his goals. But those conversations always wind up reverting back his father and the close bond that they share. While he credits his entire family and a cast of friends with helping him along his way, the emotion in his voice when discussing his dad can’t be ignored.
“My dad is the person that I can call and talk to about my struggles,” said Floyd. “He’s always been very encouraging and unbelievably proud. His favorite thing to do is come and watch us play. He’s a huge Pack fan, he keeps all of his buddies updated on what we’re doing, and he loves to talk to me about the team and defensive strategy.”
When Floyd’s career at NC State comes to a close at the end of the 2009 season he’ll be able to look back and appreciate how far he has come and how much he has accomplished on his own. His path from high school and Truman State to NC State tells of his character and work ethic. But if he tells you the story there’s no question that he’ll pass along the vast majority of the credit to his friends and family. Especially dear old dad.