Clemson football

Morris: Boyd can be first-rounder in 2013

Special to The StateDecember 21, 2012 

South Carolina Clemson Football

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd (10) avoids the tackle of South Carolina's Aldrick Fordham (57) during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

RICHARD SHIRO — the ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • CHICK-FIL-A BOWL WHO: Clemson (10-2) vs. LSU (10-2) WHEN: Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. WHERE: Georgia Dome, Atlanta TV: ESPN RADIO: WZMJ-FM 93.1

— Chad Morris believes Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is “definitely a first-round guy.”

Perhaps not in the 2013 NFL Draft.

A fourth-year junior, Boyd submitted a request for evaluation to the NFL Draft Advisory Board, which projects potential draft slots for underclassmen.

Boyd said after practice Thursday he had not received a reply and would not announce his decision until after the Chick-fil-A Bowl game with LSU. The NFL deadline is Jan. 15.

First-team All-American by the Football Coaches Association and ACC player of the year, Boyd ranks among the nation’s leaders in passing efficiency and total offense. His second season in Morris’ offense included a conference record for touchdowns rushing and passing.

“I definitely think he’s a first-round guy,” said Morris, in his second season as Clemson’s offensive coordinator. “I don’t know if it’s this year. I think it will be next year.”

Morris points to Boyd’s progress from one season to the next as an indication of his potential, though he believes one more year of grooming could launch Boyd into the big money.

“I think he could definitely improve his draft stock. Obviously, those are things he needs to talk to his family about, and he and I will talk about. I think he and I have an unbelievable relationship and my opinion would matter to him,” Morris said. “You’ve got to do what’s best for your family, but I honestly feel the improvement we saw from him from year one to year two in this system, in going from year two to year three he can only improve himself.”

Morris said he has entrusted 80-85 percent of his playbook to Boyd.

“He’s an All-American. We stress that to him. You are the first-team All-American. You’re going to have to play like it. You’re going to have to prepare like it,” Morris said. “It’s no fluke. They just don’t give those away. You’ve played well enough to earn that.”

Morris said Boyd could use another year to refine his ability to recognize and read defenses.

“That’s something he’s had a huge improvement from year one to year two in this system,” he said.

Clemson faces one of the nation’s best defenses New Year’s Eve.

“How much can we continue to put on him? I think we can put some stuff on him,” Morris said, “I really do.”

Both spoke in the context of going forward together.

Boyd said a win against LSU, “can serve as a momentum-shifter heading into the offseason.”

Morris said he intended to place more responsibility on Boyd during spring practice.

“I think you’re going to see more and more added to his play,” he said, adding there were no lingering memories of the disaster in the Orange Bowl last season.

“As a coach, you can’t live in the past,” Morris said. “And if you get caught looking to the future, you can’t enjoy the moment.

“We look in the past in some areas he’s got to improve on. We’re going to put a game plan in front of him — something we feel like he can execute 100 percent — and he’s got to go execute it.”

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