GREENSBORO, N.C. — This is Tajh Boyd’s new normal.
Mobbed like a movie star, at ACC media days or anywhere in public. Good thing Clemson’s captain is accustomed to what he’s seen, and ready for whatever comes next.
“Whether it’s at the movies, whether it’s going to the beach … for the most part, you get it in all aspects,” Boyd said. “But at the same time, it should be embraced and not pushed away.”
Although fellow quarterbacks Bryn Renner of North Carolina and Logan Thomas of Virginia Tech made a run at it, nobody was a bigger draw Sunday in the Grandview Ballroom at the luscious Grandover Resort.
Then again, that’s fairly obvious, since 27 of the 28 student-athletes on hand aren’t the returning ACC Player of the Year.
Many other players might struggle under the heat of the limelight. (Look no further than last week’s SEC hoopla brought about by the reigning Heisman Trophy winner down in Hoover, Ala.) It’s simply not the case with Clemson’s third-year starting quarterback.
“He continues to be extremely humble. He’s always the same man ever since I met him,” said senior linebacker Spencer Shuey, seated across the roundtable from Boyd as Clemson’s defensive representative at the league kickoff. “It’s actually extremely impressive.
“He’s brought some great publicity to Clemson. You couldn’t have a better guy for the role,” Shuey continued. “He gets a lot of attention and handles it extremely well. It hasn’t changed him one bit as a person.”
As Boyd and Shuey took their seats, grinning at each other as they noticed the horde of 50-ish reporters waiting to get a piece of Boyd, the senior quarterback offered his teammate a crack at the first question.
Shuey played along, asking Boyd how he’s kept busy during the offseason. Boyd playfully answered, “Man, off the field, I’m killing the circuit. But in a good way. I fish, I sing, haven’t hunted yet, but …”
Shuey wasn’t letting Boyd off the hook that easily. He implored Boyd to sing, and to the delight of the media masses, he obliged with a couple of lyrics from Eric Church’s “Springsteen.”
Then when the first reporter’s question to Boyd included the words ‘Jadeveon Clowney’, Boyd smiled and said, “I knew that was coming.”
Loose and relaxed. It’s the way Boyd wants to carry himself for at least the next five months, when the world of college football will be watching.
“You’re only in this for so long in life, man,” Boyd said, “so you’ve just got to enjoy it, make sure you maintain yourself and stay humble.”
Boyd has the respect of his adversaries, as well.
“I remember watching him in high school, we went to Elite 11 together, and every time it was time to step up, Tajh always did,” Renner said. “It’s remarkable to see how good he’s doing now.”
Clemson’s longtime sports information director Tim Bourret said the Boyd media requests haven’t been unprecedented; tailback C.J. Spiller garnered the lion’s share just three years ago. But that said, Boyd’s senior year is still approaching, and in the new age of Twitter and additional sports-centric websites, the tidal wave is only beginning to build.
“Sometimes it can get a little overwhelming. It can get a little bit tiring,” Boyd admitted during a quiet moment. “But I wouldn’t trade it for anything else right now.”
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