BY AARON BRENNER | firstname.lastname@example.org
CLEMSON – In Clemson’s spring game program following an illustrious 2012 football season, certain statistics are listed suggesting quarterback Tajh Boyd was more effective last fall than Heisman finalists Johnny Manziel and Collin Klein.
Indeed, Boyd had a better passing efficiency mark and more yards per game, touchdowns and yards per attempt through the air than Manziel, who won the coveted trophy, and Klein.
Even with Manziel back for his redshirt sophomore season at Texas A&M, Boyd believes he can hang with the reigning player of the year.
Asked if he believes he’s college football’s finest quarterback by host Ryan Russillo during his ESPN Radio appearance Tuesday afternoon, the humble, well-spoken Boyd had a firm response.
“Me personally? I think so. I think so,” Boyd said. “That’s just me. I feel like I bring a lot to the table, as far as throwing the ball and being able to run the ball. But I really consider myself more of a passer than a runner. I don’t like the stigma of being labeled as a dual threat quarterback.
“I’m a guy that, yeah, I can make plays happen with my feet, but essentially, I like to sit back and throw it around.”
The college football game everybody’s talking about during these slower offseason months is Georgia at Clemson, a Saturday night showdown Aug. 31 at Death Valley which many believe could yield a national championship contender out of the victor.
“It’s going to be an electrifying feeling, man. The last first home game,” the fifth-year senior Boyd said. “I’m just try to enjoy every moment this summer, working out with the team, and every opportunity I get as far as speaking engagements, anything I can do, I try to live in the moment and enjoy it. So Aug. 31 is going to be a special, special feeling. It’s going to be exciting, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Boyd, the 2012 ACC Player of the Year who was named to numerous All-American squads, recognized the anticipation leading up to Clemson’s season, particularly due to the Tigers’ Chick-Fil-A Bowl upset victory over LSU, completing Clemson’s 11-2 season.
“I think we’re a very, very confident team. I just don’t think people kind of understand what type of program we have,” Boyd said. “That’s one of the things that’s been holding this program back for a long time, is trying to win signature games. I think it was a step in the right direction for the program. It makes that (Georgia) matchup more intriguing, and everybody that much more excited about it.”
Stand-in host Danny Kanell, a former NFL quarterback who started for Florida State from 1994-95, weighed in on the Tigers’ 2013 outlook.
“I’m buying into Clemson as a national title contender,” Kanell said. “I love Tajh Boyd. Chad Morris, their offensive coordinator, is a genius. He’s one of those guys that’s just going to come up with plays in the dirt that’s going to give defensive coordinators (fits.) You’ve got formations you’ve never seen, motions you’ve never seen, he puts guys in unique situations specifically to find mismatches.
“Tajh Boyd, having some experience in that system, knows how to find those mismatches. That’s why I think they’re going to give Georgia trouble, because they’re going to have all offseason to gameplan for that.”
With a fairly manageable conference schedule following the Georgia opener, goals are gargantuan for Clemson, expected to begin ranked as a top 10 or top 15 squad in the preseason Associated Press poll.
“If they can win that game, and then they have Florida State at home?” Kanell continued. “Other than that, the rest of the ACC schedule … now historically, the ACC has always managed to shoot themselves in the foot by losing a game they shouldn’t, no matter who it is, whatever the team that’s hot that year. But those two games are something to watch out for, and I think Clemson could make a run.”