Should he stay or should he go?, why Tajh Boyd liking Coldplay matters, and is independence hurting Notre Dame and helping ACC?

NORTHWESTERN COMMAND – Tajh Boyd doesn’t have much to prove at the college level.

He’s averaging a ridiculous 9.52 yards per attempt. He’s second in the nation in passing efficiency. He’s gotten better every year. He’s won a conference title.

(OK, he still hasn’t beaten South Carolina.)

So knowing all this I could understand if Clemson coaches became a little uncomfortable when Boyd was asked about returning for his senior year yesterday and said: “It’s up in the air.”

Like any college junior with NFL dreams Boyd will likely submit his paperwork to the NFL underclassmen advisory board. And when he does he’ll likely return a 3rd or 4th round grade, based upon what draft analysts are saying right now.

I suspect Boyd will be back in 2013.

So does a hopeful Dabo Swinney who said today he would be “surprised” if Boyd did not return next season.

If Boyd was 6-4 instead of 6-1 he’d be a projected first rounder and he’d likely be gone. Because he lacks prototype size he’ll likely be projected as a mid-round prospect.

Something else in Boyd’s comments was telling yesterday. Remember this is a quarterback who was around Andrew Luck and Landry Jones this offseason at George Whitfield’s camp, Boyd was around quarterbacks who turned down high draft projections to return to school.

“I get a chance to talk to a lot of guys who have come and who have gone,” Boyd said. “I talk to a lot of guys who are at the next level and they don’t even hang out with the guys because it’s all business. The games are fun but the memories you gain from the offseason and the things you go through as teammates, the fights, the arguments, it’s like a family and you won’t ever have that again.”

Andrew Luck says ‘Tajh, stay in school, finish your education and try to win a national title’

The message a Luck or a Peyton Manning would give to Boyd is this: you only get the college experience once and in many ways its better than the pro experience. Don’t give it up carelessly.

Oh, Clemson could also be a preseason top 5 team next year.

And if Boyd can produce back to back two seasons like this, he might allow some Brees comps to sprout.

I think he’s coming back. And unless he’s projected as a first- or second-round pick he should come back.


Boyd revealed something stunning to a few reporters yesterday: he likes Coldplay.

(He particularly likes this song “Charlie Brown” on the Mylo Xyloto album.)

Why does this matter?

For one it tells me Boyd is a good decision maker. (He has one other Coldplay album, Rush of Blood to the Head, a NW Command favorite. It was released when Boyd was 10 if you want to feel old)

In the parking lot by the West Zone you’ll typically hear Clemson players blaring rap, hip-hop or country music. These genres of music are comfortably endorsed by players to anyone within 100 yards or their vehicles.  But not many players would publicly share their enthusiasm for a brand of alternative rock that often appeals to melancholy sentiments. But Boyd did yesterday.

Boyd’s affection for Coldplay tells me Clemson has a quarterback who is comfortable in his own skin. If everything falls right this might lead to Boyd landing a Dove “comfortable in my own skin” ad.

This tells me he’s probably more comfortable in calling out a teammate who is not running a proper route or picking up the correct blitzer. Boyd seems better equipped now to say what he feels and not think twice about it. There’s less filtering of his personal opinions whether it be music or football performance.

This is what you want from a clubhouse leader. Boyd is the front man for the band that is Clemson football. He must enforce meeting the standard we’ve heard the coaches talk about so often. Peer pressure and assessments matter. And maybe it is one reason Clemson has played to a standard this season is because player leadership, starting with Boyd, has improved.

Boyd said he usually encourages teammates but that there has to be an element of “realism” in his assessments.


Sure the money’s great, and it’s fun playing hard to get, but Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick says not everything is great about being single particularly when it could get lonely this January:

“It’s the flip side of independence,” Swarbrick said while attending Monday’s meetings in Denver to discuss the forthcoming college football playoff. “We love it and all the benefits it gives us, but the conference anchor …. , there will be a presumption in favor of conference champions. We understand that, but it’s the tradeoff we’re making. It’s one we accept.”

But how long will Notre Dame be willing to accept this?

The best thing that could happen for the ACC this bowl season is to have an undefeated Irish team get snubbed from the BCS title game. The ACC has positioned itself as the future home of Notre Dame football when/if it ever decides to partner up.

Swofford should also be lobbying heavily for not only conference championship status to be weighed heavily by the selection committee in a four-team playoff but for an eight-team playoff with five auto-bids for the ACC, BIG, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12. That would really back Notre Dame into the ACC’s corner.

And I think the only way adding Pitt, BC and Syracuse benefit the ACC long-term is if they are part of the reason that compels Notre Dame to join the conference.

2 thoughts on “Should he stay or should he go?, why Tajh Boyd liking Coldplay matters, and is independence hurting Notre Dame and helping ACC?

  1. Travis, I think you hit the nail on the head here, buddy. Tajh should stay for another year, but I think the injury to Lattimore has some “eligible high-performers” to impact their initial thoughts of staying four years. It’s obviously on his mind and the comment does not surprise me. However, I think he will realize that a) his work in Clemson is not finished and b) his draft stock improve with another year on the national stage.

    Actually listening to Heath Cline talk about this here in Columbia, right now, saying “Tiger fans should be on edge”. As a lifelong Tiger, I’m actually okay with whatever happens and if he wants to go pro, fine by me. We have to remember that while nothing is more exciting than a big win in the Valley, seeing a former Tiger chase his dream is far more satisfying in the long run.

    • Thanks for writing Jed.

      One thing that is helping all college coaches is the NFL’s new rookie cap which has greatly depressed rookie contracts. There’s less incentive to leave early. There’s more incentive for players to stay and more fully develop.

      Still, there’s no doubt Boyd should due proper due diligence and if he returns his family should take out an insurance policy (re: injury) if they have not already.

      Another thing working in Clemson’s favor is I don’t think Boyd is being pressured to leave early.

      At the end of the day unless he’s projected as a 1st, or perhaps a 2nd round pick, I still think it benefits Boyd to return to not only gain another year of physical and mental football development but to enjoy a potentially season. You only get one senior season.

      A lot of players have no doubt been helped by full development at the college level, including a Drew Brees and Peyton Manning.

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