Over the Christmas holiday, Tajh Boyd made himself a list. Then, after checking it more than twice, he nearly ended up in the National Football League.
Instead, Boyd will be back at Clemson for his senior season - in part because of advice given by former teammate Dwayne Allen, who a year ago opted to leave early for the NFL, and from long-time acquaintance Michael Vick.
The list Boyd made for himself included criteria for his performance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against LSU. It's safe to say that he knocked it out of the park.
NFL scouts thought so, too. Boyd went from 'iffy' to 'solid' status in regard to being what he described as "a late-second to fourth-round pick."
And suddenly his decision became a difficult one, and his first inclination was to toss his hat into the ring and take his chances. Boyd said that he was convinced that if he entered the draft "I had a good enough grade to go out and have an opportunity to compete."
He said there's no question that his performance against LSU enhanced his draft status, and he said he left the Georgia Dome New Year's Eve "100 percent" convinced that he had played his final game as a Tiger.
"It definitely did," Boyd said. "There were some questions going into that game that came out answered. But there are also still questions that I need to answer personally. I fell feel that there's so much room to develop and continue to grow."
Boyd said that in reassuring him that he was ready to jump to the NFL, Allen helped turn his thinking in a different direction.
"When I talked to Dwayne, he was like 'you need to come out, man,'" he said. "But then he says 'It's such a business - you've got to be ready for it.'
"And honestly, what I want right now is just to be able to enjoy this next season, and put my best foot forward. This team is going to put its best foot forward. I just feel like it's our time."
His conversation with Vick took much the same direction.
"He just told me to make the decision for me," Boyd said. "He said that I'm going to get pulled from side to side, and swayed here and there, but that ultimately you've got to go with whichever decision you make, and go full-throttle."
Boyd said that his decision came down to one primary factor - "team" - over financial considerations or a desire to establish a legacy.
"It was team-driven, honestly," he said. "We feel like we can compete and win championships. The ultimate goal is to leave a legacy. You want to be mentioned among those names.
"But at the same time, that's not really for the player to decide. It's for others to judge. Whatever you do, you want to be your best at it. I feel like this team has a chance to be mentioned among some of the best teams. Hopefully I'll put myself in position to be mentioned among some of the best quarterbacks."
He also has a strong desire to finish what he started.
"I've developed so much since I've been here, from a personal standpoint, to my faith, and as a player," Boyd said. "I feel like I can continue to develop a little bit more.
"When Coach Swinney came in, he had this vision and dream for this program. And I sort of had the same type of deal. I feel like we have an opportunity to do something special next year. I've gotten better each year and we've gotten better each year. The way our off-season is going to go, and the way all of our players are going to be pushed, I think we can do something even more special."