By Will Vandervort
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd told ESPN Radio Tuesday he is ready for the Tigers’ 2013 season opener against Georgia in Death Valley, but first he is enjoying the summer as well as working with his teammates before fall camp starts in August.
“It will be my last-first home game,” he said on the SVP and Russillo Show. “I’m just trying to enjoy every moment this summer working out with the team and enjoy every opportunity I get, like speaking engagements or anything I can do.
“I just try to live in the moment and enjoy it.”
Boyd is also enjoying all the hype he and Clemson are getting as well. The Tigers are considered to be a serious national championship contender this fall as well as the favorite to win the ACC, while Boyd has been called one of college football’s best quarterbacks and a Heisman Trophy candidate by most.
As for being one of the best quarterbacks, Boyd feels he is one.
“Do I personally? I think so,” he 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.”
In 2012, Boyd threw for 3,896 yards and an ACC record 36 touchdown passes. He also broke the conference mark for touchdown responsibilities with 46, which included 10 rushing touchdowns. Though they are two different kinds of quarterbacks and are asked to do different things, Boyd was responsible for one fewer touchdown last year than Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy.
Though Manziel is arguably a better runner—1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns—Boyd had better passing numbers as he had more yards, touchdowns thrown and yards per completion.
“I really consider myself a passer more than a runner,” the Clemson quarterback said. “I don’t really like the stigma as being labeled as a duel threat quarterback.
“I know I’m a guy that can make things happen with my feet, but I prefer to sit back there and throw the ball around.”
Boyd hopes his throwing the ball a lot to wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who is moving from the field side to the boundary side where DeAndre Hopkins played the last two seasons in Chad Morris’ offense. Watkins is considered one of the most explosive players in the country, but he had what many consider a down season after off the field issues and nagging injuries set him back.
His numbers in 2011 in terms of catches (82), yards (1,219) and touchdowns (12) dropped considerably in 2012. Last year, he caught 57 passes for 708 yards and three touchdowns. Boyd says if Clemson wants to be the team it thinks it can be it needs Watkins to have a lot of success.
“It’s crucial,” Boyd said. “He has been carrying himself that way. This is the best summer I have seen him have so far. He has been working as hard as I have ever seen him work. He knows how important he is to this program.
“Of course there are other guys that need to step up for the team as well, but he has handled himself like a veteran and he handled all the controversy (from last year) well. I think he is ready to get back on the field and showcase his talents and abilities. He is a crucial part as to what we want to do as a program, as a team and where we want to go. It is going to take everyone to reach the goals we want to reach.”
And those goals are to not only win the ACC, but play for and win a national championship. Beating LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl to close out last season went a long way in helping the Tigers believe they can accomplish anything if they set their minds to it.
“Personally, I think we are a very confident team, but I don’t think people understand what kind of program we have and (winning games like that) was one of the things that have kind of been holding this program back for a long time – winning signature games and big games.
“Honestly, I think it was a big step for this program and has it going in the right direction. Now, you still have to take everything in stride, but it makes the (Georgia) game that much more intriguing and makes everybody that much more excited about it.
“August 31 is going to be a special feeling. It is going to be exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”