NCAA Football ACC FootballClemson Tigers

Tajh Boyd Rapidly Climbing Heisman Trophy Short List

Tajh Boyd

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

If you took your focus off Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd after his disappointing performance against the Florida State Seminoles, it’s time to take a second look at the senior signal-caller. Since losing to the Seminoles in mid-October, the Tigers have won four straight games,and Boyd is easily the biggest reason why. The third year starter has played better every week since losing to the Seminoles, hence the reason he is quickly climbing the Heisman short list.

Boyd’s performances as of late are enough to thrust him back into the Heisman conversation, but recent struggles by other Heisman hopefuls are another reason the Clemson senior is a legitimate candidate once again. Johnny Manziel has dealt with off-field issues since the summer, Jameis Winston is now caught up with legal troubles, and Marcus Mariota has taken himself out of the conversation after suffering a second devastating loss this past weekend.

Since losing to Florida State the Clemson offense hasn’t scored fewer than 40 points in a game, and Boyd has been the one leading the charge. Not only is Boyd completing 67 percent of his passes this season, identical to his mark last year, but he also has 3,428 passing yards and 29 touchdowns. Boyd’s seven interceptions are hardly a knock on his game as he routinely is looking for Sammy Watkins deep and takes chances in order to put up these ridiculous numbers.

His only down performance this season was against the Seminoles, but he will have a chance for redemption this coming Saturday against the South Carolina Gamecocks. South Carolina boasts the best defensive end in the nation, Jadeveon Clowney, and have the 20th ranked defense in the country in terms of points against. This is Boyd’s shot at making people move on from the Florida State game, and an outstanding performance could very well thrust him into the thick of the Heisman conversation.

We must also not forget Clemson put up 38 points on the Georgia Bulldogs and that Boyd threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns in the game. While his completion percentage was nothing to brag about, as just over 50 percent of his passes were caught, he did prove he’s a big-time player in a huge early season game.

While AJ McCarron stands alone as the perfect all-around candidate he doesn’t put up the flashy numbers other passers do. If Boyd can lead the Tigers to an 11-1 record with a win over the 10th ranked Gamecocks it’s conceivable he could jump ahead of the All-American quarterback.

Not only is Boyd able to put up the impressive numbers against inferior opponents, but he possesses all the tools of a difference making quarterback. Boyd displays his strong arm multiple times each quarter and can make your jaw drop with how much touch and accuracy he has on 40-yard throws. I won’t call Boyd an elite running quarterback, because he really isn’t, but he has above-average pocket presence and should do just fine against South Carolina this weekend.

Nick Baker is a contributing writer for Rant Sports and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.