Tajh Boyd still has plenty to prove at Clemson

The Clemson Sports Blog

Tajh Boyd runs 9-yards for a touchdown in the second quarter

Photo by Mark Crammer

Tajh Boyd runs 9-yards for a touchdown in the second quarter

— Before the cameras Wednesday afternoon, Tajh Boyd wasn’t exactly committal about returning to Clemson next fall.

“I’ll give it some thought, sit down and talk with my coaches and parents, it’s something I’ll have to look at,” Boyd said at a press conference to discuss his selection as a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association and ACC Player of the Year by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.

“We’ll get into it at a later date. I’ll enjoy the bowl game and get ready for it coming up.”

If you read between the lines, however, Clemson fans shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about their star quarterback’s future.

Boyd will submit paperwork to the NFL’s draft advisory board, but it’d be surprising if he wasn’t in Memorial Stadium next fall for his senior season.

The junior has pro potential, but he still has plenty to work on before he leaves college for good.

“I think he still has a lot to prove,” Boyd’s father, Tim, told The (Charleston) Post and Courier recently, adding that he believes that quarterbacks should start at least three seasons in college, a fact backed up by quarterback guru George Whitfield, who spent time with Boyd last summer.

This is Boyd’s second season as the Tigers’ starter.

He made a quantum leap forward as a junior, leading one of the nation’s top 10 offenses.

Boyd averaged 336.8 yards per game of total offense (eighth-best nationally) and was responsible for a Clemson-record 43 touchdowns. He also led the ACC in pass efficiency (168.5, fourth-best nationally) and touchdown passes (34).

Following an offseason that saw him drop 20 pounds (from 240 to 220), he was a mobile force in the Tigers’ offense, rushing for over 450 yards and nine touchdowns. No longer, offensive coordinator Chad Morris famously said, was he a “concrete deer.”

Boyd’s footwork was improved. His deep throwing was improved. His completion percentage is up (66.6 percent vs. 59.7 percent in 2011), as is his quarterback rating (168.2 vs. 141.5).

But he still has more to work on.

Against South Carolina’s vicious pass rush, keyed by All-America defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, he completed 11 of 24 passes for 183 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions – both caused by intense pressure.

Two of his three worst games of the season came against SEC foes; he threw for 208 yards, a touchdown and an interception against Auburn. And against Virginia Tech’s traditionally-stout defense, he completed 12 of 21 passes for 160 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Another year in college would help Boyd immensely. He’ll still have plenty of weapons surrounding him; receiver Sammy Watkins will be a junior, as will Martavis Bryant, Charone Peake and Adam Humphries.

Star wideout DeAndre Hopkins faces his own decision on his future, but if he and offensive coordinator Chad Morris return, the Tigers’ offense will again be one of the nation’s most dangerous.

Wednesday, he spoke of a Heisman Trophy campaign, saying coach Dabo Swinney already had a nickname - "The Tajh Mahal of College Football - the 10th Wonder of the World."

Boyd is projected as a second-to-third round selection in the NFL draft. If he’s a first round pick, the smart move would be to leave. Anywhere else, and it’d be best for he – and Clemson – to spend another year together.

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Comments » 11

t1gers writes:

Entering the draft at his current level would be an utter mistake for his future career. Nothing more really needs to be said

lhaselden writes:

Boyd has given us 2 great years.... What ever he decides, I will fully support. If Chad Morris leaves I would encourage him to go as well. A new QB coach might set his progress back...

waran writes:

I dont think it will be a big loss for Clemson either way. Our backup QBs are very good. I think Nuke will be missed more.

Lynx26 writes:

At the end of the day..... If he wants to leave I can respect the man.

But as for a smart decesion.... That would not be wise.

Lacks: style of play, reads, accuracy, coutch(no signature from behind wins)

A great talent- a good quarterback. 4th round (reach)

**** Come back and build your resume( complete it)

68Scot writes:

I can't see Tajh playing QB in the NFL, wrong style, gets rattled when pressured and doesn't do well in the big games.

cuGIZ82 writes:

Since CU does not run a pro style offense there is not much Tajh can do to better his game to fit that style by staying in school another year. With that said there is not a better way to gain game time experience than playing in "live" games. For that reason alone he should come back to work on the nuances of the QB position.

He does get rattled under pressure but most quarterbacks do because they do not enjoy being hit. Pressure makes Tom Brady look average as he has versus the Giants pass rush in the Pats' last two SB appearances.

cuGIZ82 writes:

in response to 68Scot:

I can't see Tajh playing QB in the NFL, wrong style, gets rattled when pressured and doesn't do well in the big games.

If Charlie Whitehurst can find a spot in the NFL playing QB, I know Tajh can too.

KIMOSAMI (Inactive) writes:

Allllll QB's are dependent on their lines. Even Johnny Football types.

Of all QB's I watched this year, Tajh is my choice. Even compared to EJ Manuel. And the statue QB's at NCState and VaTech. They can barely move. Tajh is the complete packaage.

A good runner. Good passer. Good leader. And this business about him being rattled is nonsense. Dabo was right in his assessmeent. The best QB in the country. The Football Coaches of America association thinks so to.

TigerNE writes:

I think Boyd's chances in this year's draft depend heavily on the bowl performance. He showed signs of last year's bad pressure play in the SC game. If he stands out in the bowl game and shows he can recover, his stock in the NFL goes up. Enough for first round? Maybe not. There are a number of QBs already going - like Geno Smith and Matt Barkley for example - that would be more desirable I think. And how many QB openings are there in the NFL? 2 or at most 3 maybe are weak enough that their teams would waste a first pick for QB. The Bills are one. They need a real QB for Spiller and to get on the other side of W/L overall.

Being just a serious contender for Heisman next year will make Boyd's stock rocket in the 2014 draft.

CUNo1Fan writes:

I agree another solid year with showing continued improvement especially in learning to deal with the pressure better + a serious potential Heisman run would benefit Tajh greatly in improving his NFL stock. It simply benefits him to do another year as a starter in college. Based on the comments from his father and what his likely current NFL projection will be, he should be back for next year.

Bigboots writes:

I say go get paid Tajh.
Kelly, you ready?

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