Yesterday, we discussed how Clemson is still being disrespected in spite of its on-field performance this season. The analysis centered around the entire program, but there’s one specific position where the Tigers should really feel slighted by the national media.
And, with apologies to my man Michael Sobeski, it’s not long snapper.
Tajh Boyd entered the season with tons of Heisman hype. So far, the fifth-year senior has met the general expectations he came into 2013 carrying onto his back. His team is 6-0, third in the country, and now possessing legitimate national title aspirations.
So why is his stock seemingly dropping each week?
A better question might be this: Why has his stock seemingly dropped below a freshman who has not yet completed his first half-season as a college quarterback?
It might be just one man’s perception, but it appears both Tajh Boyd and Jameis Winston are coming into this game with much to prove. This idea is utterly ridiculous.
Winston has proven to be an apt playmaker in a handful of games so far. His escapability has been on display on a number of occasions, but his willingness to keep his eyes downfield and throw the ball with accuracy when he has to alter his rhythm has been the most impressive thing about his emergence.
But the freshman hasn’t been faced with a very good defense in an elite environment. Boyd has excelled in many—not all—of his opportunities in such games during his three years as Clemson’s starter at quarterback.
The two players have similar statistics. Boyd has completed 66.5 percent of his throws so far for 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. Winston is converting pass attempts at a 73.2 percent clip with 17 touchdowns and two interceptions. Boyd is averaging nine more yards per game, but Winston is averaging about two more yards per attempt.
The best statistical passing defense either team has faced so far is N.C. State, which ranks 33rd in the nation despite having to contend with Boyd and the Tigers. Wake Forest is 34th, but their schedule includes Presbyterian College and Army. Those schools really don’t throw the ball very much, so the Demon Deacons’ passing stats are tainted, in my opinion.
The best pass defense on Florida State’s schedule so far has been Nevada, which ranks 51st in the country. Other than that, the Seminoles don’t have a vaunted passing defense on their schedule.
Really, these two quarterbacks are in the same boat this weekend. It will be the best defense either has faced this season. The difference is that Tajh Boyd has two and a half seasons under his belt as the starter. Jameis Winston has five games.
Yet, Boyd’s draft stock is falling. His Heisman stock is falling, At the same time, Winston’s is rising as he continues to pile up numbers against weaker defenses.
We are now at the point where Boyd somehow has to prove himself on the national stage after spending the last couple of years proving himself on the national stage, which is utterly ridiculous.
I’ve seen Boyd play, and I know he’ll play well because that’s basically what he does. I’m not sure about Florida State’s quarterback, even if the rest of the nation thinks it is.
Forgive me for favoring a senior at home over a freshman on the road, even if the rest of the country seems to have forgotten the difference.