As schools’ academic years are wrapping up, last season’s juniors are about to become this season’s seniors, and with that comes extra responsibility and expectations. In the ACC, while there were plenty of players selected in the NFL Draft, the conference still returns a strong group of seniors — many of whom are set to make a strong impact in their final seasons of eligibility.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be going team-by-team in the ACC to identify the “standout senior” that’s key to his respective squad, and why he’s so important. Think we should’ve featured another player, though? Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments.
As if there was any other logical choice for the Tigers? When he announced he’d be returning for his senior season, Boyd, the reigning ACC Player of the Year, not only altered the conference landscape but the national championship race as well. As a junior in 2012, Boyd came into his own (with some help from departed receiver DeAndre Hopkins too, of course), improving upon his accuracy, athleticism and overall decision-making skills to the point that he was one of the nation’s best at his position. Just take a look at his passing numbers and how much they improved from 2011 to 2012:
Saying he was just “more efficient” as a junior would be putting mildly. And as a runner, the trimmed-down Boyd also made great strides; his 500 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on the ground proving him to be a legitimate dual-threat. Unlike his inconsistent sophomore campaign, he actually took over games last year, most notably his eight-touchdown game against NC State, the final crowning achievement on a four-week stretch that saw him account for 22 scores in all.