Commitment Analysis: Tajh Boyd

Clemson fans have become spoiled over the recent recruiting classes with National Signing Day surprises. This year, the surprise came a little early in the form of five-star QB Tajh Boyd.

QB Tajh Boyd Profile

Boyd becomes the third nationally regarded quarterback on campus at Clemson University, joining Kyle Parker and Willy Korn.

Tajh emerged as a prospect as a sophomore when he led Phoebus to a Virginia state title and has seen his stock rise ever since.

On film, the first thing that jumps out about Boyd is his mechanics. He has been extremely well-coached and it shows. Tajh has tremendous footwork for a signal caller at his level. He is quick in his drops and decisive in his planting. He is able to generate a good amount of leg drive and torque in his throws utilizing his back leg. Even when flushed from the pocket, Tajh's footwork remains excellent keeping his hips in a position to make a throw downfield.

In addition, he has been well-schooled in handling the ball in the pocket. It nearly always is held high and tight, rarely displaying the bad habits of allowing it to dangle carelessly. Again, this practice carries through to his scrambling as he often takes care to tuck the ball away on the move even if looking downfield for a target. Most quarterbacks at the high school level will suffer from "loaf of bread" syndrome while on the move, but Boyd has learned good basic fundamentals.

Tajh gets the ball out from his throwing slot with reasonable alacrity, demonstrating a fairly quick release. He could use some work on speeding up the delivery even further as he tends to have a slight delay in his wind-up. However, once moving forward, the ball moves through the throwing slot rapidly and explodes off of his hand. The most dazzling aspect of Boyd's game is his short to medium range game accuracy. He excels at putting tight throws right on the numbers, especially on slants and crossing routes. He shows a great ability to lead his receivers and make catches in traffic easier.

Five-star quarterback Tajh Boyd will report to campus in mid-May as he gears up to compete for early playing time in August.
His accuracy on deeper throws suffers a little and he still has some trouble with walking the fine line between putting too much gun and too much touch and loft. This part of his game should come along with more practice and repetition in practice. Though Boyd may never become a great deep ball passer, I expect it will be at minimum serviceable and likely more than adequate (especially if his receivers get as open as they did in the Army All-American Bowl).

While he doesn't possess a cannon, his arm strength is still quite good and thus it is within his capacity to make all the throws demanded of him at the next level. The U.S. Army All-American game co-MVP sets himself apart even further from other prospects with his legs. He has a great initial burst when breaking the pocket to move downfield. Boyd also possess great wiggle and will often make one or more defenders miss. This will pay off at the next level with picking up extra yards and enhancing his longevity as defenders will have a tough time of landing direct blows.

He doesn't have elite top-end speed and will likely never be a homerun threat in an option/spread offense, but will be dangerous enough to pick up consistent chunks of yardage.

However, do not confuse Tajh's ability to move the ball on the ground with him being a dual-threat QB; he isn't. He is a pass-first quarterback and even when breaking the pocket, keeps his eyes downfield and looks to pass first and even second before running. Boyd needs to work on reading defenses and making faster decisions. At times he is hesitant and misses opportunities by thinking too long before delivering the ball and thus losing an opening.

He also has an overabundance of confidence in his arm strength and accuracy which leads him to force the ball into dangerous situations. This is common at the high school level and will be easily corrected once he works with Clemson's staff. Tajh has tremendous upside due to his obvious physical gifts, but more prominently, due to his personality. He is inherently extremely coachable has already worked quite hard at his game.

An apt pupil with an eye for details and a good work ethic, Boyd will be able to quickly fix holes in his game. He exudes confidence and is a natural leader both on and off the field. Unsurprisingly, he possesses excellent character and will make a tremendous ambassador for Clemson. The icing on the cake his Boyd is already physically ready for the college game. At a legitimate 6'1", he is tall enough to excel at the next level and is a thick 205 with plenty of muscle.

PERSONAL RATING: On the fence between four-star and five-star. Coming off of an injury will slow his progress some and while he appears to be recovering even faster than predicted, it still must be considered. Doesn't have truly elite arm strength or size, but both are still very good. He has tremendous upside and is more versatile than most passers and should be a dynamic playmaker once he adjusts to reading college defenses.

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