Sunday, September 1, 2013

2013 Heisman Prediction: Tajh Boyd

     Last night, football regained control of our TV screens for the first time since Alabama whooped Notre Dame in the National Title game. Saturday's biggest game of course featured two teams with very different football backgrounds; 5th ranked Georgia of the SEC and 8th ranked Clemson of the ACC. The game featured two high flying offenses, but in the end, Clemson's quarterback Tajh Boyd was able to overpower Georgia's defense, as Clemson upset the Bulldogs 38-35. Tajh Boyd is familiar with the spotlight, as he led his offense past LSU in last year's Chick-Fil-a Bowl. Boyd is extremely talented, with a strong, accurate arm, and the ability to make big plays with his feet. For this reason, we believe Tajh Boyd will take home the Heisman Trophy in 2013.

     Four minutes into the third quarter in last night's game against Georgia, Tajh Boyd faked the handoff to running back Roderick McDowell, hesitated, and then unleashed a 31-yard pass to wide receiver Zac Brooks. Brooks was draped by a Georgia defender, yet Boyd was able to place the ball where only his receiver could catch it. Once the ball landed in Brooks' hands, he was immediately tackled by the opposing cornerback in the end zone for the touchdown, which gave Clemson a 28-21 lead. This touchdown pass was just one of three for Tajh Boyd in last night's game, with an additional two touchdowns on the ground. His performance against Georgia perfectly reflects the skill-set in which Boyd possesses. Yes, Boyd is capable of running the ball, but unlike quarterbacks such as Marcus Mariota and Braxton Miller, Boyd is a pass-first type of quarterback. The accuracy on the deep throws is extremely inconsistent, but last night's game, especially Boyd's touchdown pass to Zac Brooks, is a posotive sign that Boyd has improved on the deep throws.

     In 2012, Tajh Boyd led his team to an 11-2 record, where both losses came against Top 25 teams (Florida State, South Carolina). By year's end, Boyd passed for 3,896 yards, 36 touchdowns, and just 13 interceptions. His passer rating of 165.6 ranked fourth in the nation last year behind pocket passers AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, and David Fales. Unlike the three I just listed, Tajh Boyd is more than capable of running the ball, especially in the red zone. Boyd's 10 rushing touchdowns last season ranked 11th in the nation among quarterbacks, while he also ran for 514 yards on the ground. Clemson finished second in the ACC Atlantic, and faced off against LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. After beating LSU on a last second field goal, Tajh Boyd was named MVP, passing for 346 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

     Clemson's offense lost wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins who left for the draft, but Boyd still has one of the best wide receivers in the nation, Sammy Watkins. Watkins is a deep threat with extraordinary speed, and this duo is more than likely to succeed if both players are able to stay on the field. Clemson's schedule in 2013 features games against division rival Florida State, as well as SEC powerhouse South Carolina in the last game of the season. Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers are off to a great start, and Clemson playing for the National Title no longer seems so far fetched with Boyd leading the way. If Boyd is able to lead Clemson to one of the major BCS Bowls, we see Tajh Boyd being named the winner of the Heisman Trophy in 2013.

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