After being down 7-6 in the late second quarter of their ACC game versus NC State in Raleigh, North Carolina on Thursday night, the Clemson Tigers took control to win the road test 26-14. The victory keeps Clemson very much in the BCS Championship race being ranked No. 3 in the country behind just Alabama and Oregon.
As the game unfolded, it was clear to see that Clemson’s Heisman candidate Tajh Boyd has grown to be an NFL ready quarterback. In fact, I believe he is the most NFL ready QB in NCAA football today. If he can stay healthy, I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be the first quarterback taken in the 2014 NFL draft.
If you compare Boyd to any other QB in the league today, he reminds me of Buffalo Bills rookie starter EJ Manuel. In his first two weeks as the Bills’ offensive leader, EJ has shown great poise and maturity. In back-to-back home games in Buffalo, Manuel led the troops to a 21-20 lead over the New England Patriots in Week 1 before Tom Brady orchestrated a late comeback on the Patriots’ final drive winning a 23-21 squeaker. In Week 2, Mr. Manuel had the opportunity to make the most out of the final drive of the game with 1:36 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Bills trailing the Carolina Panthers 23-17. EJ succeeded in throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Stevie Johnson with two seconds remaining. That was a fantastic and emotional win with EJ’s father in the stands celebrating his birthday while watching his son hurl the final dagger.
Because of Boyd’s incredible physical and mental attributes in his senior year playing for Clemson, I find that the similarities between Tajh and EJ are staggering. As with Manuel, Boyd doesn’t force throws and make unnecessary mistakes. Of course, this is an extremely positive trait that all NFL teams look for in a starting quarterback. In addition, Tajh mirrors EJ in regards to arm strength and accuracy as well as with his ability to escape the pocket and run the football.
At the forefront of the Clemson attack, Mr. Boyd and the Tigers have a great chance to put themselves into position to play for the BCS Title in Jan. 2014 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Tajh will push Clemson the rest of the way with his poise, maturity, tremendous arm, athletic ability and the most important characteristic of all – the vital organ between his ears.