Tajh Boyd's Heisman campaign is week-in, week-out

Tajh Boyd greets fans at Tiger Walk before the Georgia game

Photo by Mark Crammer

Tajh Boyd greets fans at Tiger Walk before the Georgia game

CLEMSON – Tajh Boyd is OK with Clemson having no official Heisman Trophy campaign for him, but he is missing one element.

“I would’ve liked the poster – the one that ( C.J.) Spiller had,” the senior QB said. “I got my own poster in my room – I made my own.”

Boyd expecting bounceback from Bryant

In 2009, the Clemson marketing folks constructed a life-size poster of former Tigers running back C.J. Spiller to give away – the demand from fans was a lot higher than the number produced, but that’s another story.

This time around, the philosophy is different on the Heisman angle – led by Clemson’s head coach.

“People say, ‘Are y’all going to have a Heisman campaign for Boyd?’ He has a Heisman campaign,” Dabo Swinney said Tuesday. “It’s Georgia, South Carolina State, N.C. State, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Boston College, Florida State – that’s his Heisman campaign.

“When the campaign is over, the votes will come in. That’s what happens in all that stuff. He has to go in and compete very well in this campaign.”

Boyd earned ACC offensive back of the week honors after totaling 312 yards and five touchdowns against the Dawgs. After the effort against the former top-five team, Vegas odds listed by Bovada have the Hampton, Va. native at 8-to-1 alongside Oregon’s Marcus Mariota for the mega-national honor behind Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville, 5-1), Braxton Miller (Ohio State, 13-2) and Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M, 15-2).

Monday, HeismanPundit.com listed Boyd as the top contender in its straw poll after the weekend.

“We’ve played one game and one game doesn’t make a season,” Swinney said. “If they’re going to announce the Heisman this weekend, he’s got a good shot. I need to hurry up and get my tux for New York.”

He has a point, of course, as last year’s leader in the same poll after week one (former USC quarterback Matt Barkley) went on to finish outside of the top-10.

Boyd’s on the same track as his coach with the hype.

“The Heisman stuff is cool – it’s exciting,” said Boyd. “If that happens in November towards December, I’m going to start writing the speech, but now I’m good and continuing to just lead the guys right now.”

Practice determining defensive tackle spots: Sophomore defensive tackle Carlos Watkins had a great week of practice going into the Georgia game – sophomore tackle D.J. Reader did not.

Coming off last season, Reader played 123 more snaps than Watkins with 24 more tackles by 2012’s end, but on Saturday night, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables set a precedent – last year’s results doesn’t guarantee a spot.

Watkins posted the second-most snaps (34) of the interior line group, while Reader saw the field only eight times.

Carlos Watkins emerging on d-line


Out of the spring, the Chase (N.C.) product was third-team, but after posting three tackles and a tackle for loss assist in the opener, he’s now sharing a starting role with junior Josh Watson this week.

“(Watkins) practiced harder and with more intensity and was more consistent,” Venables said. “He earned the job. You want somebody to go and earn the job. You want that separation.”

They have a rotation of five guys at defensive tackle including Reader, Watkins, Watson, Grady Jarrett and DeShawn Williams.

Swinney said Tuesday the junior Jarrett had separated himself from the crowd – compiling eight tackles and three quarterback pressures Saturday – but overall, it’s a highly competitive spot.

“That position, it’s a little bit closer,” Venables said. “You can’t say that about every position. There’s probably more capable guys at that position than any other on defense.”

And that makes each week a competition because somebody is going to get left out in the cold on playing time, like Reader against Georgia.

“If you’re trying to be fair, you want to reward the performance,” Venables said. “You never want guys to put their guard down. You want them to stay hungry and stay with an edge. They recognize that you’re going to reward performance based on what you’re doing in practice and what you’re doing week-to-week.”

Tigers land four ACC players of the week: In addition to Boyd, three more Tigers were honored by the conference. In his first career start, center Ryan Norton shared the recognition of co-offensive lineman of the week with Miami’s Brandon Linder, playing 78 snaps. Norton graded at 91 percent with four knockdown blocks. Sammy Watkins was the top ACC receiver after hauling in six catches for 127 yards and a score. Rounding out the group, senior linebacker Spencer Shuey was the best at his position after an 18-tackle performance.

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