|Boyd for Heisman? Start the campaign now|
|by David Hood - Senior Writer - Wednesday, January 2, 2013 8:44 PM||
Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
View Full Profile for Heisman? It didn’t happen in 2012, but you better believe that Clemson’s senior quarterback will be one of the front-runners in 2013.
Obviously, a lot of that will depend on whether Boyd returns to Clemson for his final year of eligibility or decides to turn pro. If he decides to return and help Clemson make a run at some hardware in 2013, he could be in line for some hardware of his own.
Boyd put up tremendous numbers this season, and earned some Heisman talk along the way, but people wanted to see the Virginia native perform on the big stage and win a big game before fully investing their belief that he is the type of player that should be mentioned along with the all-time greats.
Any doubts that anyone has about his leadership, toughness, passing ability or running ability should have been dispelled in the Georgia Dome Monday night when he had what has to rank among the all-time great performances by a Tiger quarterback.
He took shots, and got back up. He took big hits. And got back up. He was chased, harassed and knocked all over the Dome turf. And got back up. Defensive ends came after him and delivered their best shot, linebackers had him in their sights all night long and defensive tackles pushed the pocket from the middle and knocked him down. And he got back up.
Any time there was a third-and-short, Morris called Boyd’s number, much as he had in the latter part of the season. If it was third and just a few yards, everyone in the building knew who was going to carry the ball, including the defense. In all, he carried 29 times for a measly 22 yards (sacks are factored into the rushing yards), but each yard was critical, especially late in the game.
Boyd’s gritty, gutty performance even had LSU head coach Les Miles shaking his head.
“I have to be honest with you, I don’t know where the MVP Award goes, but to me it’s Boyd,” Miles said after the game. “I don’t know how many yards he got rushing, but every yard he got, he got drilled. He just kept getting up and made plays for Clemson and scrambled out and kept the ball alive and made a pass. I just want you to know that he played extremely well in this game. Very, very, very big night for him.”
Boyd walked out of the Clemson locker room following the game, freshly showered but looking a little bedraggled following his performance , and trainer Danny Poole approached Boyd before one interview and said, “Hey QB10, are you okay? Do you need anything?”
Boyd smiled and shook his head no, the pain obvious on his face, but when it came to perform an interview for an ESPN writer, he did what he had done all night – he got back up.
At the end of the night, Boyd’s stat line said he was 36-of-50 for 346 yards and two touchdowns and one touchdown rushing. That stat line punctuated a season in which he completed 251-of-377 passes for 3,550 yards and 34 touchdowns and added 492 rushing yards.
At the beginning of the season, most national and ACC pundits and NFL scouts drooled over the height of Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas and the athletic ability of Florida St.’s E.J. Manuel. During the season, Thomas struggled with his accuracy and threw 16 less touchdown passes than Boyd while gaining just 35 more yards on the ground despite being thought of as more of a dual-threat quarterback than Boyd. Manuel had several nice moments, but never really separated himself from the crowd.
Meanwhile, Boyd kept winning, throwing darts all over the field, making the deep ball look easy and carrying much of the rushing load in Morris’ offense. Monday night, he took the very best that LSU’s highly-rated and SEC-style defense had to take and – you guessed it – got back up. How would Thomas or Manuel have fared in those circumstances?
Tajh likely vaulted himself into the thoughts of NFL scouts and general managers with Monday’s performance, showing every trait needed to be a player at the next level. The best quarterback in the ACC this season? It wasn’t even close. And should he decide to return, he will be the best quarterback in the conference. Again.
And he will make a run at some hardware along the way. I will start the campaign now – Tajh for Heisman in 2013.
If he doesn’t win it, he will just keep doing what he does best. Get back up.
|Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment||