Tajh Boyd, almost literally, will be handing the ball off to his little brother when Deshaun Watson makes his official visit to Clemson this weekend.
A Clemson commitment since signing day in 2012, the record-setting quarterback from Gainesville, Ga. signed a financial aid agreement with Clemson earlier this fall, which under new NCAA rules not only allows coaches unrestricted communication with their projected early enrollees, but also to talk about them publicly.
Both Dabo Swinney and Boyd took advantage of the opportunity on Tuesday to talk about Watson and the four players who will join him on campus in January - wide receivers Demarre Kitt, Artavis Scott and Kyrin Priester, and linebacker Chris Register.
“The guy is like a little brother to me, a really humble kid, super intelligent, and I love the personality he has," Boyd said of Watson. "It’s more than football. I’m excited about the kind of person Clemson has coming in.
"We’ve got some guys that can really play right now, who’ve proved they can play right now. I think it’ll be an interesting competition for sure.”
Swinney likes the new rule - especially the part that allows unlimited communication with players who've signed their financial aid agreements - but said he held off talking about the future Tigers until the rule was recently clarified.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t know we could talk about them,” Swinney said. “Just in the last few weeks, we kind of got the official ruling that we could talk about them...Plus, we’ve been real focused on our season, and none of you guys have asked me about them.”
Swinney likes what the Tigers are getting in Watson, a consensus top-100 player who ESPN ranks as the nation's No. 1 quarterback.
“He’s just a great prospect - a great leader, a winner, with a terrific skill set, especially for what we do,” Swinney said. “He fits our system perfectly. We’re excited to have him to come be a part of our program, no question about that.”
Swinney declined to compare Watson to other quarterbacks.
“I don’t want to label anybody," he said. "I just think he’s a pretty good Deshaun Watson. I think he’s a great young man from a tremendous family. He’s been incredibly well coached. Coach (Bruce) Miller and his staff have done a great job with him. What he does in high school is a perfect fit for what he’s going to do here.
“We’ve been watching him since the ninth grade, and he's been to our camp every year. It’s going to be really fun to see this guy perform at this level. I think he’s going to be one of those guys, once it’s all said and done, just like this guy that’s leaving right now, who'll leave his mark.”
ANOTHER FCS SELLOUT
For the second time this season, Clemson has sold out a home game against an in-state FCS opponent. The Citadel game was announced as a sellout last week, following in the footsteps of the South Carolina State game in September.
Watkins putting off NFL decision
"It's maybe one of the best accomplishments we've had this year," said Swinney of the sellouts. "It's a great credit to our fans for us to sell out both those games. That's really exciting."
NO SENIOR DAY FOR SAMMY
It's widely anticipated that Sammy Watkins will make his last run down the hill on Saturday, but he won't do it in the company of Clemson's individually-introduced departing seniors.
Swinney said that if Watkins turns pro, he'll have his day in the spotlight at the Tigers' post-season awards banquet in January.
"We don't honor juniors (on senior day)," Swinney said. "We do a good job of honoring juniors at the banquet. Guys that have been here four years and are graduating, then that's different...But with juniors, we honor them at our banquet if they are coming out. That's a different deal.
"And Sammy hasn't told me he's leaving. Who knows?"