The Times West Virginian

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January 4, 2012

QB showdown

Clemson’s Boyd, WVU’s Smith have a history together

MIAMI — They were hot summer nights, perhaps not as hot as in his Miami home where the heat and humidity of summer weigh on your back like a 40-pound sack of rice, but certainly hot enough when you are attending football camp.

Time off the field was treasured, especially for Geno Smith, who at a couple of camps would return to his room and his roommate and talk about being high school kids and high school quarterbacks, each from a different part of the country.

His roommate was from Virginia, as talented a prospect as he was.

His name was Tajh Boyd.

Yes, that Tajh Boyd, the one who will be at quarterback for Clemson tonight when WVU and the ACC champions meet in the Orange Bowl.

“I just hung out with Tajh. We didn’t have TVs in the dorms, so we had a lot of time to talk. He told me a lot about his high school and how things were in Virginia, and I told him how things were in Miami. We really had a good rapport. It’s ironic we are facing off against each other. It’s going to be special,” Smith said.

o o o o o

It seems that fate has drawn these two talented competitors together in this showdown for whatever reason.

You have to go back a few years, but when Boyd was coming out of high school he was drawn to West Virginia, went so far as to verbally commit to Bill Stewart.

Then Boyd saw WVU play Syracuse, winning 17-6 in as lackluster an offensive performance as anyone has ever seen out of a winning team. It got a kid to thinking, a kid who had visions of being a great, exciting college quarterback.

“I thought I had rushed my decision a little bit and things didn’t look like they were going to work out like I wanted to,” Boyd said this week to the Charleston Daily Mail. “I felt like I needed to take my time with things and re-evaluate everything.”

Stewart, at the time, was taken aback, and when asked about Boyd withdrawing his verbal at his weekly press conference replied:

“I will tell you I will call the plays. Jeff Mullen will call the plays. Jeff Casteel will call the plays on special teams, offense and defense. No player will call plays. They will play,” Stewart said at his weekly press conference a few days after Boyd’s announcement. “I’m glad I found that thing out sooner rather than later. No player’s daddy is going to call plays.”

That was the end of that love affair.

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