Boyd Still Haunted by Miller



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Last updated: 12/30/2013 11:16 AM
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Boyd and Miller Joined in Unique Way
By Rob Ogden

Tajh Boyd can't get away from Braxton Miller.

Not now, not five years ago during his recruitment.

No matter how deep Boyd cements his legacy at Clemson, the quarterback will forever be tied to Ohio State.

Boyd was the only quarterback the Buckeyes were after during the months leading up to signing day in 2009. Coach Jim Tressel promised Boyd he could wear No. 10, the number once made famous by Troy Smith, the quarterback Boyd idolized as a high-schooler in Hampton, Va.

Taj Boyd
Photo by Dan Harker
Taj Boyd

Ohio State rolled out the red carpet for Boyd and left a good impression.

"You go into the Woody Hayes Center, you walk in there and it looks ridiculous," Boyd said. "There's rings and trophies everywhere.

"I was sitting there looking at this guy who had won the Heisman Trophy. They were comparing me to Troy, how sweet is that?"

But not sweet enough, at least not at the right time, Boyd said.

"I was very impressionable at that age," he said. "Honestly, whoever I had for my last visit I probably would have committed to."

Boyd visited Clemson Jan. 16, 2009 — three days before signing day.

Boyd said had he decided to commit at the Army All-American game Jan. 3, Ohio State would have been his choice. Instead, he waited until signing day to decide.

"On signing day, I really didn't know where I was going to go to school," Boyd said. "I was talking to Terrelle Pryor and I didn't know what he was gonna do. I wanted to go somewhere where I had the opportunity to play the earliest and had the opportunity to grow in every aspect of life."

Boyd remembers Tressel promising him that he would be the only quarterback signed in the class. But the Buckeyes already had the nation's top quarterback prospect from 2008 in Terrelle Pryor, and supposedly they had another one waiting in the wings.

"I actually heard about Braxton a lot during my visit," Boyd said. "It was like, 'This guy who goes to Wayne High School, he's gonna be really good.'"

Boyd said he heard it again and again during his visit to Columbus — at restaurants and from players.

"I was hearing that he was next in line," he said.

Boyd would get his No. 10 — it's orange and purple, not scarlet and gray.

The one-time soft verbal to Ohio State began to drift towards Clemson, where he felt he had the better chance of playing right away.

"Coach Tressel called me like 12 times after I told everybody about Clemson, because it wasn't signing day yet," Boyd said. "I just didn't pick up, I'm not gonna lie. I didn't know what to say."

Five years later, Boyd and Miller's names are again in the same sentence. This time as adversaries, not as potential teammates.

The Jan. 3 Orange Bowl has been billed by some as Braxton vs. Boyd — a challenge that Miller said he is eager to undertake.

"It might make me play a little bit harder," Miller said. "I love competing. I feel like every athlete's got it in them. When it's a night game, a big-time game, I'm gonna put it all out on the field."

Boyd said he sometimes wonders "what if?"

What if he had gone to Ohio State?

Would the Buckeyes be in Miami today? Would Clemson?

Boyd said he still watches the Buckeyes every game. He loves their uniforms. He would love even more to beat them.

"As your last game as a Clemson Tiger, I think it would be the sweetest thing ever," he said. "I'm excited for the matchup."

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