Ready and willing to run

CLEMSON - There was a time in Tajh Boyd's football life when he didn't want the dual-threat label. Now, he embraces it with open arms.

When Boyd arrived to Clemson in the spring of 2009, he didn't want the stereotype that's been placed on black quarterbacks for years. He wanted no part of that stereotype.

Pro-style was the description that Boyd though was most fitting. But that was four years ago. Boyd changed his tune with a little encouragement from offensive coordinator Chad Morris.

"One of the biggest things that coach Morris told me after his first spring here, if you can't get it done, we'll find somebody that will," Boyd remembered. "That was a turning point for me. That was the light bulb popping up. I was going to do whatever it takes to be the starting quarterback here.

"It's been a great ride, so far."

In addition to rewriting the Clemson record books as a passer, Boyd's emerged as one of the top running quarterbacks in the country.

Boyd rushed 142 times for 218 yards and five touchdowns in 2011, his first season with Morris.

A year leader, he led Clemson in rushing touchdowns [10] and was second yardage [514].

Through four games this season Boyd leads the Tigers in rushing touchdowns [four] and is second in yardage [159].

"He's the guy who's going to provide that big punch," Morris said. "That's his mindset. He's tough and it's what he wants."

When Morris looks to the play sheet for a third-and-short or a fourth-and-short call, the play usually looks something like this: Boyd fakes the handoff to a motioning running back before he goes plodding into the line, searching for the first-down marker.

And, more often than not, it works.

"He's extremely confident in what we're calling, what we're doing," Morris said. "He's got a knack for it. He knows how to set up his blocking and fall forward for two and three yards."

Boyd wants to pick up those yards, he needs to pick up those yards.

"If it's short-yardage, I'm going to get it. I'm going to try my best not to be denied," he said.

Clemson is seventh in the country with 37 third-down conversions. All six teams ahead of the Tigers have played one more game. Boyd is responsible for six of those conversions.

He has half of the six fourth-down conversions, a team figure that is tied for ninth in the nation.

"I want [Morris] to be as confident as possible. If the ball is in my hand, I'm going to do whatever we can to get positive yards, touchdowns, whatever it takes," Boyd said.

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