Branch, Boyd going home

CLEMSON - Dabo Swinney may want to send a hand-written letter to Richmond, thanking the Commonwealth of Virginia for blessing him with two valuable members of his team.

At 6 p.m. on Saturday, Andre Branch and Tajh Boyd, the only two players on Swinney's roster from Virginia, will be back in The Old Dominion when No. 13 Clemson takes on No. 10 Virginia Tech.

Branch, who attended Varina High School in Richmond, is tied for the team lead with 23 tackles and is second with two tackles for loss and a sack.

It will be Boyd's first game back home since high school while Branch played 18 snaps during Clemson's 13-3 win at Virginia in 2008.

Boyd, a Hampton native, graduated from Phoebus High School. Through four games this season, he's completed 90 of 136 passes for 1,255 yards and 13 touchdowns. He's 12th in the nation in passing efficiency [173.8], 10th in total offense [327.5] and third in touchdown passes.

"It should be fun. I'm definitely looking forward to it. It should be a homecoming of sorts," Boyd said. "I definitely expect to hear some noise, things of that nature, but I'm definitely looking forward to it."

Both will have plenty of old friends to see upon their arrival to Lane Stadium.

Branch keeps in touch with cornerback Cris Hill, defensive tackle Antoine Hopkins, outside linebacker Alonzo Tweedy and right tackle Blake DeChristopher.

"We talk a lot, but we don't talk about the game," Branch said. "We just keep in contact... no trash talk, not at all."

Boyd's close with quarterback Logan Thomas and defensive end Zack McCrary.

"It's probably going to be some trash talk on the field, I would think so," Boyd said.

Virginia might before lovers, but Virginia Tech wasn't for Branch or Boyd.

"They recruited my high school a lot," Branch said. "I really didn't want to go to Virginia Tech, but I definitely have ties to Virginia Tech, because I know all their coaches and know all their players...I wanted to get out of Virginia. That's all it was, nothing against them."

Boyd also wanted to venture out of his home state.

"They're definitely a good program. Frank Beamer is a great was just one of those things. I wanted to get out of state, nothing against the program, or anything of that nature," he said.

On Saturday, Branch and Boyd hope to show their fellow Virginians that they're doing just fine two states down.

"It's going to be a homecoming," Branch said. "It's going to feel good to be back at home." Top Stories