Boyd wants to "take over completely"

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I walked off the plane in Atlanta early in the morning hours Saturday, fresh off a trip to Colorado, and immediately noticed that I had shared the flight from Denver with a current Denver Bronco defensive player.

As we walked to baggage claim we began a conversation – I had interviewed him in the past – and we both began to talk about football and the upcoming season. He said he had 12 days until his camp started, and I mentioned that Clemson got started on August 3rd.

As football conversations always do, the talked turned to quarterbacks. I wanted to know all about Peyton Manning – what is he like in person? How is he on the practice field? What is he like on game day?

As it turned out, he wanted to talk about Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Sr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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. Was Tajh the nice guy he appeared to be? Was he really the leader of the entire Clemson team?

The answer, of course, was yes to both.

The Bronco (I have to leave his name out, to mention that I spoke with him and then used his conversation in an article would break NFL interview rules) stated that Manning is all business in the meeting rooms and on the practice field. He said that Manning is all business when it comes time to work, and that reminded me of a conversation we had with Boyd towards the end of the spring.

It followed one of Clemson’s practices, and Boyd told us that he wasn’t wasting a single second of his remaining time at Clemson, that he wanted to cherish every second he had with this teammates.

"It'll be gone before you know it. In seven months, the season will be over," Boyd said. "I didn't want to go through spring break just coasting. I don't want to waste a day."

And then he said it was time for him to be the unquestioned leader of the entire team, not just the offense.

“For me, it’s time to take over completely,” Boyd said.

Boyd said he knows how to get where he wants to go as an individual and to get the team to its goals, and that was to be more like an NFL quarterback that he hopes to be one day.

"To be a more complete general,” he said. “One of the things about being a veteran is that every time you get a chance to be on the practice field and work, you have to take advantage of it. You have to be there with a passion. You can't really take a day off. It goes by so quickly. We have to embrace it."

Sometimes, that isn’t always easy, but Boyd said as a veteran it is his job to set the expectations for the younger players.

"I'm trying to embrace that, embrace every moment," he said. "Mat drills, they're terrible. They suck. But at the same time, we have to live with the moment. You're gasping for air, yet you have to say, 'This is great.' You need to set an example to the point that younger players see you, everything you're doing and when you leave and it's all said and done, they can step up and be in that same position and lead guys the same way and then expect the same results."

In his Clemson career, Boyd has thrown for 8,053 yards, 73 touchdowns and 28 interceptions while rushing for 765 yards and 16 touchdowns. In 2012, Boyd was named ACC Player of The Year, first-team All-ACC, Chick-fil-A Bowl MVP and even made headlines after being named a first-team All-American, thanks to the American Football Coaches Association.

However, he has made no secret of the fact that this season isn’t about his individual goals – this one is about championships. As a result, he knows that he has to be the best player he can be if the Tigers are to achieve those goals.

"It's just a big opportunity for me and my guys in the receiving corps. I feel like I've got the best receiving corps in the country," he said. "We've got an opportunity to be a special team. But it's going to take some time and chemistry. For us, this is one of those situations where we have depth. We feel like we have a really solid group up front. For me, I've just got to put my best foot forward."

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