CLEMSON – Had Chad Morris left on a southern train … errr … plane at the Anderson Regional Airport last month, the Clemson offseason and the 2013 season could have gone badly.
If the Tigers lost their offensive coordinator, they not only would have lost one of the nation’s top assistants, but Clemson might have also lost its starting quarterback.
The 2013 offseason could have determined the 2013 season.
When Tajh Boyd announced he would return Wednesday, he noted losing Morris could have altered his decision making.
While DeAndre Hopkins is likely headed to the NFL – though no official word has come from his camp – the rest of the offseason could not have gone better for Clemson. Morris and Boyd are back for one more run.
This is the kind of offseason that dreams are built upon.
Clemson returns one of the nation’s top offensive minds, one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, earns a top 10 final poll ranking, returns improving line play, a bounty of skill players, and 63 freshman and sophomores on scholarship. Clemson is better setup to make a run at a national title in 2013 than at any time since the 1980s.
The arrow is pointed way up. If you’re a Clemson partisan its time to get excited.
Anybody else ready for Georgia-Clemson on Aug. 31?
TAJH MAKES THE RIGHT CALL
Morris had a much easier decision than Tajh Boyd this offseason: Morris was either not offered a position he wanted, or his asking price was not met. Pretty cut and dry.
Boyd had more complicated calculus.
Boyd knows no matter how great his 2013 season is he’s not likely a first-round pick, he’s not likely to improve his draft grade much, which ranged from late second round to early fourth round. Why? Because the draft is as much about tools and projection as it is about production. It’s hard to imagine his production getting much better than 2012′s and Boyd is not going to grow four inches.
“If I was 6-5 right now, I’d be the No. 1 pick,” Boyd said Wednesday.
Not exactly modest, but perhaps accurate. And it’s telling in that Boyd understands his draft ceiling will be limited no matter what he does in 2013.
So why come back? Why not sell relatively high?
Why did we think he was coming back?
I asked Boyd if his return is largely legacy-drive, which I believed to be the case.
“It’s team-driven,” Boyd said of his motivation to return. “Honestly, I do feel your ultimate goal is to come in and leave a legacy. You want to be mentioned among those (great) names … those great teams. Whatever you do you want to do your best at it. Hopefully I’ll put myself in position to be mentioned among the best quarterbacks.”
I think Boyd made the right decision, and what is also selfless decision.
He took a very Russell Crowe-playing-John Nash approach to his decision: doing not only what is best for himself, but best for the group. Governing Dynamics. Something like that.
If he was acting selfishly he could have looked at what Russell Wilson is doing in the NFL, a Boyd comparison, he could have looked at the LSU game, he could have looked at a third-round signing bonus ($700,000) and said “it’s been fun, it’s been real.”
But Boyd is as invested player as Clemson has had since perhaps C.J. Spiller. He feels he has unfinished work. He understands Clemson is in a rare position in 2013 — but he had to return for Clemson to really have a shot at reaching the mountain top. He put some of his personal interests on hold and second to the team, university and fan base. What if he gets hurt in 2013? What if he has a poor 2013? There is risk.
“It’s like a job interview. You get one last evaluation. It could be good or bad but at the same time what do you have to lose?” Boyd said. “You are playing a game you love, you have a chance to graduate with degree, you have a chance to impact lives.”
There’s risk but there’s also rewards, imo, rewards that outweigh even a late second-round draft grade.
He enters 2013 as a Ring of Honor candidate, as a Heisman candidate, with the possibility to enter the conversation of best player in Clemson history. There’s a monetary value to be placed on all of that, there’s a prestige value and there’s value in simply having the chance to accomplish something great and leave a lasting legacy.
The NFL will be there in 2014. But Boyd knows there’s only chance to have a senior season.
In talking to a few lingering reporters on Wednesday, Boyd asked aloud to no one in particular this question: “Is there a better sport than college football?”
Boyd answered his own question Wednesday.