By Will Vandervort
When he was being recruited to Clemson five years ago, Tajh Boyd told head coach Dabo Swinney he wanted to be the best quarterback to ever play at Clemson. It’s safe to say he has done a pretty good job of following through with that.
Boyd owns about every passing record there is at Clemson, and including tonight’s game against Georgia Tech, he has three more games to break a few more. With eight completions against Georgia Tech, he can set the school’s all-time record for completions, a record that is currently held by former Tiger great Charlie Whitehurst.
“It’s not something that you say, ‘I’m going to go out there and break every record,’” Boyd said. “I have put myself in that conversation, but that’s not for me to judge. Everyone has goals, dreams and aspirations, but you should want to go out there and be the best that you can possibly be. Whatever that is, it will take care of itself.”
In Boyd’s case he has the chance to simply be Clemson’s best ever in the most important category of them all – winning. The Tigers’ all-time leader in passing yardage, total yardage, touchdown passes and touchdown responsibilities, is within three victories of tying Rodney Williams as the all-time leader in wins.
He can reach 30 victories as the starting quarterback if sixth-ranked Clemson can take down Georgia Tech tonight in Death Valley.
“It’s been an honor to get the records and things of that nature,” Boyd said.
Earlier this year Boyd had a conversation with Williams, who told Boyd he was proud of that record and the legacy he left at Clemson because of it. But the former Tiger, who was 32-10 as a starter from 1985-’88, also told Boyd he was pulling for him to break his record.
“It would be easy for him to kick back, put his feet up and boast about being the all-time winning-est quarterback at Clemson,” Boyd said. “But I think that is just the respect for our team and the respect for the game that he has. Although you want to be the best, if you are associated with something and it’s a team that you care about, you want that record to fall because you know they are making strides. They are making improvements.
“So it is the same thing with me. My records might stand for a while, they may not. It just depends. But it is just an honor to be mentioned with them.”
Boyd, who has 93 career touchdown passes, needs only three scoring passes in his last four games—that’s counting the bowl game—to break Phillip Rivers’ all-time Atlantic Coast Conference record. But Boyd does not want to be remembered for all the records, instead he wants to be remembered for how this team finishes this year.
Boyd is trying to guide the Tigers to back-to-back 11-win seasons for the first time in the program’s history while also leading them to another top 10 season, one in which they were in the top 10 the entire season, which would also be a first at Clemson.
“The word is ‘Finish!’ And that is what we are trying to do,” Boyd said.
Boyd recalled how Charlie Whitehurst and the 2003 Clemson team beat No. 3 Florida State, Duke, archrival South Carolina (63-17) and then No. 6 Tennessee to close out the year. Though they were 5-4 prior to the FSU victory, no one remembers that. They only remember the way the season ended, not how it began.
“It was a tremendous finish to that season,” Boyd said. “It started off kind of ugly, but they had a tremendous season and that is all people talk about. That’s all they remember. You are only remembered by what you did last.”