No. 8: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Previous ranking: No. 1
Making the case for Boyd: First, the records, of which there were many: Boyd finished his career with an ACC-record 107 touchdown passes. He was responsible for an ACC-record 133 scores. He set the Clemson record for consecutive pass attempts without an interception (187) from 2012 to 2013. He set Tigers’ single-game records for passing yards (455) and passing efficiency (261.9) in an Oct. 5 win at Syracuse, a game in which he did not play the fourth quarter.
For the season, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound senior completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 3,851 yards with 34 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He added 400 rushing yards and 10 more scores on the ground. His 44 total touchdowns were tied with Jameis Winston for the most in the ACC, and his 327 total yards of offense per game led the league. The Hampton, Va., native was one of five finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, one of 10 semifinalists for the Manning Award and one of 16 semifinalists for both the Maxwell Award and the Davey O'Brien Award. He was a second-team All-ACC selection by both the media and the coaches.
And yes, it is worth noting that Boyd finished seven spots below his preseason ranking, a product of Winston and Florida State dominating the Tigers in Death Valley earlier this season and of Boyd's shortcomings against in-state rival South Carolina. Still, he went out with a bang in the Discover Orange Bowl, and though he was unable to repeat as ACC player of the year in 2013, he did replicate his 2012 campaign statistically, while improving his career mark as a starter to 32-8. He will certainly be missed at Clemson after rewriting the record books and providing invaluable leadership to the Tigers.