Boyd redshirted and saw limited time as a freshman in 2010. He became the starter in 2011 and turned heads as Clemson won the ACC and earned a spot in the Orange Bowl. If the Heisman Trophy was awarded after eight games, Boyd would have been the frontrunner in '11 as he led Clemson to an 8-0 start with a 24-3 TD-INT ratio over that stretch. However, just like Clemson, he struggled down the stretch.
Boyd struggled through some more inconsistency in 2012, but continued to put up staggering numbers en route to being named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year. He led the Tigers to an 11-2 record while setting regular-season ACC records for touchdowns responsible for in a single game (eight) and season (41).
He saved his best for last, engineering a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback victory over LSU in the Chik-fil-A Bowl. The final drive included an excellent completion in a tight window on a fourth-down situation that kept Clemson's hopes alive.
It's the impressive skills and toughness Boyd displayed against LSU that will make scouts review his tape extremely closely. However, his inconsistency could well divide the scouting community as to Boyd's value on draft day. As many times as Boyd bailed Clemson out of a jam, he had almost as many puzzling mistakes and poor decisions.
Very good velocity overall, especially on in-breaking routes at the intermediate and deep level. Shows good touch to loft passes over the heads of linebackers and under safeties over the middle.
Good ball placement. Generally hits his receivers in stride or leads them away from the defender. Quick feet, showing good footwork to step into his throws and escape pressure when needed.
Good poise in and outside of the pocket. Is willing to step up in the pocket to avoid outside pressure and generally keeps his eyes downfield. Creative passer, who can flick the ball (Brett Favre-style) to get rid of it as he's being pressured.
Talented runner. More elusive than his frame would indicate, showing lateral agility and surprising burst. Powerful runner who isn't afraid to lower his shoulder for needed yardage. Keeps his legs driving through contact.
Very tough. Reportedly lost 20 pounds in preparation for the 2012 season. Had been characterized as a team leader in the past but improved in this regard in 2012, demonstrating a more even-keel demeanor throughout games.
WEAKNESSES: Shorter than ideal. Most of his passes are relatively easy throws; i.e. screens, in-cutting routes across the middle, etc. Rarely asked to drive the ball from the opposite hash across the field.
Has a bit of a wind-up. Takes the vast majority of his snaps out of the shotgun. Surrounded by playmaking receivers who can turn his short passes into long gains.
Drops his eyes and looks to run too early rather than exhausting his passing options. Needs to improve upon his accuracy on the move.
COMPARES TO: Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks -- Like Wilson, Boyd will have to fight through the stereotype of short quarterbacks to earn his chance in the NFL. But he possesses the other athletic traits needed and showed improved decision-making and leadership traits in 2012.