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Boyd returns for senior season

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By Will Vandervort

CLEMSON — As they both posed for a picture following Tajh Boyd’s press conference Wednesday afternoon, former Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen raised his left index finger and said, “One more year.”

And that’s exactly what Tajh Boyd decided to do. Boyd told the media there were some things he still needed to get done in his college career as he announced he will return to Clemson for his senior season, and will not submit his name to the 2013 NFL Draft.

“I have enjoyed my time here at Clemson and have been a part of a great family,” Boyd said. “I have learned so much as a person and as a player. I don’t think I’m ready to give that up yet so I’m here to announce that I will be returning to Clemson for my senior season.”

Boyd, a First-Team All-American by the Football Coaches Association of America, led Clemson to a 25-24 victory over then No. 7 LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31. He directed a 60-yard drive in the last 1:39 to set up Chandler Catanzaro’s 37-yard field goal as time expired.

As a two-year starter so far, he has posted a 21-6 record at Clemson. He has won an ACC Championship and is 13-1 in Death Valley. He has passed for 8,053 yards (second to Charlie Whitehurst) in his career with 73 touchdowns (1st all-time). His 8,818 total yards also rank second to Whitehurst.

In all, Boyd owns 30-career, game and season records at Clemson and was also named ACC Player of the Year in 2012 and was a First-Team All-ACC quarterback for the second straight season.

In throwing for 3,896 yards and 36 touchdowns this season, Boyd set 25 Clemson records and nine ACC records. He totaled 4, 410 yards this season and was responsible for an ACC-record 46 overall touchdowns. Clemson’s 11-2 record this season is the best at the school since the 1981 team won 12 games on its way to the National Championship that year.

But with all that said, Boyd says there is still more he can do.

“It was a big process going into (my decision),” the quarterback said. “I had pros and cons on each side. For me it came down to my enjoyment here. I love Clemson and I love college football. I feel like I had a good enough grade to go out and have an opportunity to compete, but at the same time, I’m not ready to drop this right now.

“I feel like we have a lot of things left on the table here in Clemson and hopefully I’ll be here to see those things out.”

Boyd said he was projected as late second to fourth round pick if he entered the draft. He said after the high of throwing for 346 yards and two touchdowns against LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, he seriously thought about coming out.

But after talking with his family, while getting advice from Allen and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, Boyd knew it was in his best interest to come back to Clemson.

Allen, who earned a spot on the NFL’s All-Rookie team after a stellar first year with the Indianapolis Colts, said he had a lot of opportunities to watch Boyd progress as a player and as a team leader this year.

“He made a lot of gains in the game,” Allen said. “He decided he wanted some more work on his game and that’s one of the main reasons why he decided to come back.”

Allen, though a different situation, knew exactly what Boyd had been going through the last five or six days.

“In his position, he was in a position where it was not necessarily a bad decision for him to leave and it definitely wasn’t a bad decision for him to come back,” the tight end said. “I’m sure he had to fight through it a little bit, but being able to have people such as myself and Michael Vick and others to talk to and to lean on for information and knowledge about the NFL, certainly helped him and helped ease his decision.

“I gave him my whole spiel. I was done playing where at the end of last season I felt my game reached a certain level where I was not going to get any better and I needed a challenge. But, I received a first-round grade. But just because I received that first round grade, I didn’t get drafted in the first round. I ended up being drafted in the third round, which was still a blessing because I ended up with the best quarterback, in my opinion, in this past class.

“Giving (Boyd) little tidbits like that I think helped ease the decision for him. Also, he wants to have an opportunity to compete for a national championship to further what he has done at Clemson.”

And for Boyd, that’s what Wednesday was all about.

“When Coach (Dabo) Swinney came in here, he had this vision and he had this dream for the program. I kind of had the same type of deal,” Boyd said. “I feel like we have the opportunity to create something special here.

“We have gotten better each year and I have got better each year and I feel like the way this off-season is going to work and the way these players are going to be pushed, I think it will become that much more special.”

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