Boyd takes in Elite 11 camp

BUFORD, Ga. - For Tajh Boyd, there's something special about being able to call himself an Elite 11 participant.

Boyd, then a rising senior at Phoebus High School in Hampton Va., was one of 11 quarterbacks selected to participant in the 10th annual event in July of 2008.

Just over three years later, Boyd was named first-team All-ACC, MVP of the ACC title game and led the conference in total offense and passing yardage.

Like Boyd, the Elite 11 competition has grown leaps and bounds since the summer of 2008.

"It's getting bigger and bigger every year. Now, it's almost global. It's something special, something serious. It's cool," he said after watching last Friday's competition at Buford High School. "You get to talk to some guys like Trent Dilfer, Jordan Palmer, those guys.

"The biggest part about it, of course it's competing and hoping to get that invite, but the guys that you meet during the time."

Also on site for last week's event was Georgia signal caller Aaron Murray, one of Boyd's fellow class of 2008 competitors.

"I talked to Zach Mettenberger [LSU] yesterday. It's just a constant friendship," Boyd said.

Garrett Gilbert [Texas], A.J. McCarron [Alabama], Bryn Renner [North Carolina] and Geno Smith [West Virginia] were also in that 2008 Elite 11 class.

"You build friendships off of that, but at the same time, it's a pleasure to get out here and compete against all these different quarterbacks," Boyd said.

Among the campers at last Friday's event was 2014 Clemson commit Deshaun Watson. Though he won't be eligible for a spot in the Elite 11 until next year, Watson has worked at two Elite 11 regional events.

"The last two years, it meant a lot. Just coming up here and competing on the highest level is a big thing," he said.

Watson thinks he's grown since his experience at last year's camp in Athens and last week's camp in Buford.

"I have a lot more confidence, a big jump from last year to this year," he said. "I've improved on my game a lot, but I've still got more things to improve on."

Next summer, Watson will get his chance to join the fraternity that Boyd, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Stafford call their own.

"I'm looking forward to it, working this summer and working through the season. Hopefully I can get with Tajh and work with him a little bit, coach [Chad] Morris when I got up to the Clemson camp this summer," Watson said. "Just picking up on my game, and next year, hopefully I'll get to go out to California."

Judging by the praise he received from Dilfer during Saturday's Nike Football Training Camp, Watson could be well on his way to punching his ticket for the Elite 11.

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