Following the 2012 college football season, we were talking about Boyd in the first round. After all, he was coming off a 3896 yard season where he threw for 36 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He had also rushed for 514 yards and 10 touchdowns, rightfully putting his name among college's most dynamic athletes from the quarterback position. So how did we nab him in the 6th round after he repeated his 2012 form? He did throw for 3851 yards, 34 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions in 2013, as well as rushing for 400 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Boyd went from being a Heisman candidate and projected first round pick, to a 6th round selection that was the 13th quarterback taken in the 2014 NFL draft. The more of his game analysts watched, the more they started to question his pro potential. Is his footwork good enough? is he too small? his throwing motion isn't smooth enough, will he be able to play from under centre? all legitimate questions. I find it strange how they only popped up in his 4th year of action at Clemson, but they were all valid concerns. So does Boyd have any regrets about going back to school for his final year? Not a chance:
"I don't regret the decision at all," he said. "I feel like I'm in the right position. I feel like I'm with the right team
"For me, it was all about having no regrets when I left school," he said. "I wanted to see if could go out there and get a national championship, and I wanted to go out there to see if I could win the Heisman.
None of those things happened, but I most definitely enjoyed my experience."
Boyd will now have to start all over again. At the moment he is sitting at the bottom of the Jets depth chart at Quarterback. There will be two competitions this off-season. The first will be a competition for the starting spot on the roster, contested between Geno Smith and Michael Vick. The second will be the competition for the 3rd QB spot, the developmental position, contested between Matt Simms and Tajh himself. If Boyd can cement his spot as the third quarterback on the roster he will have an opportunity for a redshirt year, just as he did in college in 2009.
"I like to think that I'm a deep thinker sometimes, So, I'm sitting in my room and going through the playbook and it really just hit me that, 'You're just a small fish in a big pond again.'"
It can't be easy for some college athletes. Players who are idolised within their campus and community, adapting to being just the back-up. However if you have the right attitude and look at it the right way, there is no reason why you can't become idolised again. Boyd understands that the road ahead will be long, with peaks and problems. Rex Ryan admitted that there will be a lot of work to be done. The footwork may be the most important problem that needs resolving, having played almost exclusively from the shotgun in college, he'll need to learn to take snaps from under centre, and be smooth in his drop-back. However we employ a whole host of coaches for a reason, we pay them good money to ensure they get the best out of these athletes:
"There's going to be ups and downs and you'll get frustrated and a little confused sometimes, but that's just part of the process," Boyd said. "After a while, you start to emerge again as one of the bigger fish."
For Boyd, that will mean working hard, on and off the practise field and accepting and adapting to his new role on the football team.
When asked earlier this weekend if Boyd will only play as a quarterback, Rex commented that for now, he is 100% a quarterback. Boyd confirmed that he couldn't see himself playing any other position. Boyd has done enough in his quarterback career to warrant being given every opportunity to excel at quarterback. After all we area talking about a man who has 57 school or ACC records to his name. However in the future, if Quarterback doesn't work out, he has enough athletic talent to try and make it work at other positions on the football field.
I remember many years ago there were several reports about the relationship between Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, and how Favre had no interest in being a mentor to Rodgers etc etc, needless to say there was a lot of animosity between the two before and after Favre left Green Bay. Luckily we have a new veteran who's only too happy to help the young rookie trying to find his way. Tajh recently commented on the dynamic within the quarterback room:
"The thing about it is, I honestly thought the relationship wouldn't be what it was because these guys, they've been very helpful. Mike, Geno, Matt Simms. You get to a particular team and you've got all of these guys competing, we have a certain perception or what you think is going to happen. But when I got here it was totally different. Those guys were pretty excited that I was in the room, they were helpful. Any questions I needed answered, they answered them for me. It's been good working with those guys."
Tajh has a long road ahead of him, although with his college accomplishments and positive attitude, I really wouldn't bet against him making an impact sooner than people think.