There’s huge news for a college football program, then there’s this.
With just one underclassman (Tennessee’s Tyler Bray) declaring thus far and a rather ho-hum class of seniors, it was thought that Tajh Boyd would have a shot at being one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft if he came out early. Fortunately for Clemson, that will remain a subject of conjecture.
Following up on a Twitter promise made late Tuesday night, Boyd announced at a press conference Wednesday that he will indeed be returning to the Tigers for his redshirt senior season. While Boyd was, at the moment, viewed as anywhere from a second- to third-round player, one school of thought was that he could improve that standing at the NFL Scouting Combine, the school’s Pro day and at various individual workouts.
Instead, Boyd will attempt to improve his draft stock by playing one more season at Clemson, entering 2013 as one of the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy.
After redshirting as a true freshman in 2009 and playing in seven games in 2010, Boyd has been the Tigers’ starter at quarterback for the past two seasons. In 2011 and 2012, he passed for just over 7,600 yards, completed 63.2 percent of his passes and tossed 69 touchdowns, although he also had 26 interceptions. His 514 rushing yards were second on the team, while his 10 rushing touchdowns led the Tigers.
All told, Boyd accounted for an astounding 46 of the 66 offensive touchdowns (69.7 percent) scored by the Tigers this past season.
He’s been named first-team All-ACC each of the past two seasons, and in 2012 was named first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association. In other words, this is kind of a big deal for a football program looking to fight its way onto the national stage and into the BCS title mix.
The Tigers’ early-entry NFL focus will now shift to DeAndre Hopkins. The wide receiver led Clemson in receptions (82), receiving yards (1,405) and receiving touchdowns (18) this season. The latter total was second in the country behind the 25 put up by West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey, while the yardage was fourth nationally.
It’s believed Hopkins is leaning toward a return, although no final decision has been announced.