By Will Vandervort
Like any freshman that has come through the doors of Clemson’s WestZone at Memorial Stadium he opens his career by sitting in the back of the room at team meetings. As his career moves along, he will gradually work to the front where the seniors sit and occupy control of the team.
It’s a rite of passage, if you will, as a football player at Clemson goes through and matures during their course of their career.
“I think it is kind of symbolic about your journey. About your life and how everything goes in your life,” quarterback Tajh Boyd said Tuesday. “Because it is new to you and you don’t know what’s going to happen, you’re kind of afraid somewhat, but each year you start to grow more confident. You start to realize who you are and you start to become your own person.
“At the end, you are in the front row. It’s the end of the road.”
Boyd and the Clemson seniors are slowly coming to end of their road at Clemson. After this off-week, the Tigers (8-1, 6-1 ACC) have four games to go in their Clemson careers against Georgia Tech (Nov. 14), The Citadel (Nov. 23), at South Carolina (Nov. 30) and the bowl game.
“The seniors are always different from everybody else on your team, and that’s just because of their experiences and what they have already been through,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “They have a big picture perspective that most of the other guys don’t have.”
That big picture will start to get more in focused in the weeks to come. As the season begins to wind down, the senior class will look back and reflect on their careers. Unlike the juniors, sophomores and freshmen, they have seen the lowest of lows—a 6-7 year in 2010—and the highest of highs—the ACC Championship in 2011 and last year’s top 10 finish.
In all, the 2013 seniors have won 35 games and have a shot at winning 39 should they be able to win out. If that should happen, it would tie them as the second winning-est senior class in school history, only behind the senior class of 1990 that went 40-8 between 1987-’90.
The Class of ’91 posted a 39-8-1 record from 1988-’91 and currently holds second place. Boyd and the rest of the senior class currently holds a 35-14 overall record.
“It’s all about making memories. The senior class that we have was not very big when it was recruited and it got smaller as time went along. I’m trying to make the most out of my time with these guys and that is the biggest thing for me right now.”
One memory Boyd would love to have is a victory over archrival South Carolina. Though that game is 25 days away and there are still contest with Georgia Tech—another rival—and The Citadel left to be played, he understands that his legacy and the senior class’ legacy will be marked by whether or not they beat the Gamecocks.
Right now, they are 0-3 against their archrivals from Columbia.
“Honestly, the one thing everybody wants to accomplish here that we have not done, we have to beat South Carolina,” Boyd said. “I think everybody knows that in the back of their mind, but at the same time it will get here when it gets here.
“We just have to make the most out of what we can right now.”