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