'Face of the program' Tajh Boyd is having the time of his life

'I'm enjoying every minute of it. I've only got so much time left, and I'm trying to make the most out of it'

Clemson's Tajh Boyd signs autographs after the 49-14 win over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Tajh Boyd signs autographs after the 49-14 win over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.

Tajh Boyd is having the time of life.

The best part is that nobody knows it better than he does.

Clemson's fifth-year senior, Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback got a reminder last weekend, when former teammates and current Buffalo Bills C.J. Spiller, Jonathan Meeks and Chris Hairston paid a visit to the Clemson sideline at the Carrier Dome.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I know that," said Boyd this week during a break from preparations for the Boston College game. "Even at the next level - even if you're considered the face of an NFL franchise - it's not the same as college. I'm trying to take it all in stride, enjoying every minute of it. I've only got so much time left, and I'm trying to make the most out of it.

"It's been great to talk to some of the pro guys, and it's just made my decision to come back to school that much sweeter listening to them. They say that there's nothing like this atmosphere and the brotherhood that we share here. That makes me want to make sure I enjoy this last go-round."

One of college football's highest profile players, Boyd has been described as the 'face of Clemson's program.' He says it's a role he relishes and doesn't take for granted.

"I try to take things one day at a time, and my main agenda is to improve every time I step onto the field," Boyd said. "That means a lot more intensity in our meetings and watching film, preparing every day.

"I don't worry so much about the next game - I just try to take control of the moment. I think that approach keeps me humble and down to earth, and always ready to perform."

Dabo Swinney says day-after-day, now and for the past five years, Boyd has been an exemplary ambassador for Clemson.

"I sleep good at night - I don't worry about Tajh," Swinney said. "I know he's going to make good decisions and that he's going to help others make good decisions.

"He was special when he got here at 18, and he's even more special now. He's figured it all out and knows what's important. He's not perfect, but he's about all the right things. When he makes mistakes, he takes ownership of them, learns from them and grows from them. That's what leaders do."

Swinney said that from the day he met Boyd on the recruiting trail, he was impressed by "this sweet humble person." While that hasn't changed, Swinney said Boyd has grown in maturity, taking advantage of every opportunity.

"He's definitely matured," Swinney said. "He's matured into the man and the leader that he is today. He has a great perspective and understanding of the big picture, and it's been fun to watch him go through that process."

When Boyd decided last winter to return to Clemson for his final year, he did it with the knowledge that there was financial risk involved. To his thinking, that risk was overwhelmed by a potential reward that can't be measured in dollars and cents.

And once he made his decision, he was - to borrow Swinney's original phrase - "all in."

Boyd said he decided that the possibility of injury was not "more important than the program."

"If I wasn't going to give everything I have, I wouldn't be here," Boyd said. "I do have an insurance policy, so that if something were to happen, my family would be covered. But my main agenda is to lead this team and do all I can to help us win. If that means throwing the ball 40 times or running the ball 40 times, I'll do whatever it takes with no questions asked.

"Every time I step out on the field, I'm going to give it everything I've got."

Of that, Swinney has no doubt.

"He loves playing, and he loves all that comes with being the starting quarterback at Clemson and he embraces it," Swinney said. "He's just a joy to be around. I love seeing his smile every day. He's a great player, but it's all those other things, to me, that make him so rare.

"He takes great pride in his preparation. He's like another coach, over here all the time watching tape. He does so many things that people don't see. He's very humble and easy to talk to, and he just goes out of his way to talk to people. He has no sense of entitlement or anything like that."

Most of all, Swinney said Boyd personifies the program's drive to be "the best."

"He wants it," Swinney said. "He didn't come back here just to go through the motions. He came back here because he loves being here and he's committed to being the best.

"Anyone who's been around Tajh knows how he is, and he's like that all the time. He's special, and we're going to miss him when he's gone."

Once he's "gone," Boyd said he has every intention of coming back.

"I believe right now I'm playing with some of the very best skill-talent," Boyd said. "And then when you look at the guys we've got potentially coming in, I'm excited about coming back and tailgating. That's something I've not had the opportunity to do yet.

"I think this program is definitely still on the rise. I feel fortunate to have been a part of that growth process."

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Comments » 3

waran writes:

I often discount Coach Swinney when he praises a player as he is often trying to build their confidence. But in the case of Tajh, I do believe that what Swinney says is not adequate. In the age of Clowney (selfishness) and Coach Shaffer/Spurier (rudeness), Tajh is a gentleman, a leader and a role model for all youth in colleges and high schools. I hope he stays healthy and is rewarded for returning to College and giving his best. I am really proud that players such as CJ Spiller and Tajh represent Clemson. Good luck.

JSBCharleston writes:

I don't think Coach Swinney needs to say much in praise of Tajh, the face of Clemson vs Clowney the face of usuc. That is all there is to be said.

brookesdad729 writes:

Very good article! Tajh is the best QB ever for us as far as I'm concerned and not just because of his stats but more importantly how he represents Clemson. He's a class act and anyone would love to have him in their locker room on this level and the next! Way to go Tajh! I pray that you reach the "goal" and you know what that is! Go Tigers!

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