This Post is Graphic in Nature: Why Tajh Boyd Regresses in 2013

This is the third post in the Tuesday Doomsday series.  Previously, downfalls were predicted for Gurshall and Jadeveon Clowney.

Tajh Boyd, Clemson’s rising senior QB, has had a nice little college career.  I don’t mean that phrasing to diminish his on-field production (although it has been absolutely adorable), but I mean that to say that he’s been solid – if unspectacular.  He’s won 21 games over the past two seasons and in doing so has put together the following statistical line:

585 of 926 (63.17%) passing for 7724 yards, 69 TDs and 25 INTs.

Only one returning FBS quarterback has thrown more touchdown passes over the past two seasons than Tajh Boyd – Georgia’s Aaron Murray.  The hype that comes with leading one of the nation’s best offenses has certainly accompanied Boyd.  He is a Heisman Trophy candidate (Bovada lists him at 16/1) and will show up on numerous award watch lists and All-American teams.

All of this is well-deserved.

But this is the part of the article where I turn Clemson fans’ smiles upside down.

I’ve written previously about the amount of offensive firepower that Clemson is losing.  To summarize this beautifully written article: The Tigers lost (to graduation, the NFL Draft, etc.) 53.16% of their offensive yardage production and 53.03% of their offensive Touchdowns.

Tajh Boyd will certainly miss weapons like running back Andre Ellington (1313 yards of offense, 9 TDs in 2012), tight end Brandon Ford (480 yards of offense, 8 TDs) and wide receiver Jaron Brown (348 yards of offense).  But he will miss one key component of his offense to a much greater extent.  Tajh is going to long for the fond embrace of DeAndre Hopkins.  He might even miss the former wide receivers’ nasty living habits.

From 2009-2012 (a four year-period excluding the most recent year for reasons that will become apparent) 27 wide receivers were drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.  Of those 27 players selected in rounds one and two, 13 (I am excluding a 14th – Brian Quick played at Appalachian State and I prefer to only use FBS players for equal comparison) left behind a quarterback to fend for himself in the same way that DeAndre Hopkins left Tajh Boyd.  (Dude note: I realize that several of the players on this list were seniors and had no choice but to leave.  I am simply making this point: 13 QBs lost their best weapon.  And that is unfortunate.)

Here is how those QBs faired without their best weapons:

2009 – Darrius Heyward-Bey leaves Chris Turner at Maryland.

Turner improved – if only marginally – in a few areas following DH-B’s departer.  His QB rating went from 119.3 to 121.1.  His completion percentage rose from 57.2 to 59.4.  But, he threw for three fewer TD passes and 450 fewer yards.  Verdict: Turner’s performance was constant.


2009 – Percy Harvin leave Tim Tebow at Florida.

Tebow’s passer rating decreased from 172.4 to 164.2.  He threw nine fewer TD passes and 1 more interception.  Despite a slight step forward in passing yards (up 150 or so) and completion percentage (up 3.4%), he showed signs of struggles in the passing game.  Verdict: Tebow’s performance declined.

2009 – Brian Robiskie leave Terrelle Pryor at Ohio State.

Pryor increased by nearly 700 passing yards as a byproduct of more attempts (he had 165 attempts in 2008 and jumps to 295 in 2009).  However, his QB rating dropped from 146.5 to 128.9.  His completion percentage dropped 4 full points.  He threw 6 more TD passes but added 7 more INTs.  Verdict: Pryor’s performance declined.


2010 – Demaryius Thomas leave Joshua Nesbitt at Georgia Tech.

Nesbitt’s completion percentage drops from a meager 46.3 to an abysmal 37.1%.  He thros three fewer TD passes.  His QB rating drops from 148.7 to 105.4.  Verdict: Nesbitt’s performance declines.


2011 – A.J. Green leaves Aaron Murray at Georgia.

Murray’s completion percentage slid from 61.1 to 59.1%.  His QB rating declined with it (146.5 in his second season after posting 154.5 with A.J. as a frosh).  However, Murray exploded for 35 TD passes (an improvement over 24).  Verdict: Murray’s performance was constant – at least with what is expected of a young passer.


2011 – Jonathan Baldin leave Tino Sunseri at Pitt.

Tino’s completion percentage, QB rating, yards per attempt and touchdowns all declined while his interceptions increased.  Verdict: Sunseri’s performance declined.


2011 – Titus Young leaves Kellen Moore at Boise State.

Moore’s completion percentage rose as did his touchdowns, offsetting a decline in QB rating.  Verdict: Moore’s performance improved.


2011- Torrey Smith leaves Danny O’Brien at Maryland.

O’Brien transferred from NC State to Wisconsin (following the Russell Wilson model) but saw his 1648 yards through the air decline to 523 (he lost his starting job) 3 TDs and 1 INT.  Verdict: O’Brien’s performance declined.


2012 – Michael Floyd leaved Tommy Rees at Notre Dame.

Tommy Rees also lost his starting job.  Verdict: Rees’s performance declined.


2012 – A.J. Jenkins leaves Nathan Scheelhaase at Illinois.

Scheelhaase’s QB rating plummeted from 133.4 to 105.9.  His completion percentage dropped and his TD passes declined from 13 to 4.  Verdict: Scheelhaases’s performance declined, but his name remained impossible to type.


2012 – Stephen Hill leaves Tevin Washington at Georgia Tech.

Washington’s QB rating dropped from 155.4 to 147.4.  His touchdowns declined (down to 8 from 11).  He managed only 1222 yards (down from 1652 in 2011).  Verdict: Washington’s performance declined.


2012 – Alshon Jeffery leaves Connor Shaw at South Carolina.

Shaw’s passer rating, TDs, completion percentage and yards all increased.  Verdict: Shaw’s performance improved.


2012 Ryan Broyles leaves Landry Jones at Oklahoma.

Landry Jones improved on pace with a four-year starter.  His QB rating climbed slightly from 141.6 to 144.6.  His completion percentage moved up 2.9%.  He threw one more TD but 400 fewer yards.  Verdict: Landry’s performance is constant.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.


Tajh Boyd could have a great season in 2013.  Or he could follow the trend of the 13 players listed above:

  • 8 declined
  • 3 remained constant
  • 2 improved
The average QB Rating Change for the 13 QBs discussed.  Click to enlarge.

The average QB Rating Change for the 13 QBs discussed. Click to enlarge.


  • Tajh will complete less than 65% of his passes.
  • He will throw for under 3600 yards.
  • He will throw for under 33 TD passes.
  • His QB rating will be below 157.0.

That’s all I got/


About dudeyoucrazy

College Football Writer

Posted on June 18, 2013, in ACC, Blog, Georgia Bulldogs, SEC and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Your Analisys are creatively selected to make your point. I’m betting my favorite neat scotch that I could “pluck” an equal “random” group of QB’s to show how Boyd will soar after the loss of said offensive fire power. Just sayin.

    • Let’s knock out the important stuff first: what is your favorite Scotch? Someday I will have a full-time whiskey column on the site! That might drive readership!

      On to football…

      Did I “select” data? Certainly. But the data was not “plucked” or “random.” I selected data that reflected the largest area of concern for me when I look at Tajh Boyd – departing talent. I wrote about that very concern back in February (more than four months ago). It is not a contrived or otherwise manufactured concern. It is rooted in reality. Losing over 53% of one’s offense is a big, big deal.

      Once I selected the data group (QBs who lost elite WRs) that I felt best described Tajh’s upcoming predicament in the passing game I used every sample that applied to his situation. I didn’t use WRs drafted in 2013 because we don’t know how their QBs will do next year. I didn’t include FCS programs because I never do (and I think that is fair)! I didn’t go back more than four years because I didn’t have time and I’m not sure that older precedents carry as much weight as recent trends (furthermore, I’m not sure that the older precedents would have been any different).

      My number one concern with Tajh Boyd is that he lost a whole lot of weapons. I studied how QBs who lost similar talents at the WR position performed the following year and the data supported my concern.

      It could certainly be wrong. And, not every QB in the study regressed. But most did. I think Tajh Boyd will.

      Could you counter the argument with different data? Possibly. If you want to contribute a guest post I’d love to see the following: How did QBs who lost 50%+ of their surrounding offense perform the following year? And, to make it accurate to this situaton, only use good (maybe top-40 or so) offenses. I don’t think it is as relevant if a crappy offense lost its playmakers – that could be a good thing for the future of the offense! I care about how QBs of elite offenses respond after losing a lot of talent.

      That data would be interesting. Nonetheless you can’t disagree with the notion that Tajh lost an elite WR (and other talent). And you’d be hard-pressed to disagree with the current trend for QBs who lost such elite receiving talents.

      I’m largely sticking to the Scientific Method here:

      1. Ask a question: Will Tajh Boyd be better or worse in 2013 than he was in 2012?

      2. Do background research: Tajh lost a whole lot of talent. Losing an elite WR has not historically been a good thing for a returning QB.

      3. Construct a hypothesis: Tajh Boyd will regress in 2013.

      When football season arrives I can test the hypothesis, analyze the data and communicate the results.

      If only science was this enjoyable…

      Thanks for reading and thanks for engaging in conversation. I’d love to hear your thoughts/see your countering research.

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