Tajh Boyd will be watching from afar when Deshaun Watson takes his first snap as a Clemson quarterback.
After spending a week at the Elite 11 camp, in the company of head coach and camp director Trent Dilfer and working with counselors like himself, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, David Fales and Teddy Bridgewater, Boyd knows that Watson will have had at least a taste of the transition from high school to college, and a glimpse of what the NFL is like for a cream-of-the-crop quarterback.
"It was a great honor for me to get to come back and be a counselor," said Boyd during a video interview with Student Sports, which puts on the Elite 11/The Opening competition. "When I was here in '08, the counselors were the likes of Mark Sanchez, Matt Stafford, Chase Daniels, Colt McCoy. It was awesome for me to see those guys come in and compete.
"You have to remember that you're making a huge impression on these guys. It's all about interacting with them. You have to let them know that they can reach this level."
Watson, who's hoping to follow Boyd as Clemson's next quarterback, he benefitted from the experience of working with the Tigers' senior leader.
"We have a great connection with each other," Watson said. "He's watching me, and I'm watching him."
"Looking back, as a player you see these stars, these big names, so it's important for them to know what we can be touched and talked to," said Boyd. "Because this is significant. It's something that makes an impression on a young player, and that you remember for a long time.
"This was one my better experiences when I was in their position, so when I had an opportunity to come back, I jumped at it."
Boyd said that six years ago, the Elite 11 camp helped him refine his game and focus his attention.
"I got better in all aspects - fundamentally and the way I thought about the game, and my competitive nature came out more than anything," he said.
Boyd said the training the players receive is even more comprehensive and sophisticated these days.
"It's changed so much now because they've added so many different things, different elements," Boyd explained. "They've got people coming in talking, training not only physically but mentally. They've taken it to a whole new level, with playbooks.
"Trent and his staff have done a great job. I think for these guys, it's come to the point where this is more realistic and helps them understand what it's going to be like - that high school is one thing and college is another and then the NFL is another."
Asked what advice he would give to the young quarterbacks, Boyd said he'd tell them "just don't waste a day."
"Like I've told some of these guys, it's going to go by faster than they think, so it's important to make every day count, every rep count," he said. "And just to go out there and learn. You don't want to go into college with this huge 'I'm this or I'm that' type of attitude. You want to be a leader and have a chemistry with your guys. So it's important for those guys to go in humble and hungry and ready to compete at all times."