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Boyd best Clairton player of all time

| Friday, Nov. 25, 2011

The best thing about following the Clairton football program is watching all the outrageous talent that is on display. It never gets old.

Just when I thought I had seen it all a couple of years ago, the best of them all came along. He is why Clairton will claim its fourth straight WPIAL title when it battles Sto-Rox on Saturday morning at Heinz Field. His name is Tyler Boyd.

I have been lucky to see so many transcendent Clairton players over the past decade.

When Dana Brown rushed for more than 2,000 yards in 2004, he became an instant legend in Clairton, and would surely become the best player during the Tom Nola era.


Then, Kevin Weatherspoon came along. He was so smooth, so unflappable, so mature. Clairton had never seen a receiver like him. Weatherspoon had found a way to surpass Brown and would always be the best player of the Nola era.

Wrong again.

And then came along Desimon Green, whose potential always seemed greater than his production. Of course, his talent was so supreme that he simply led Clairton to two state titles. Not bad. No one could surpass him, right?


When you watch No. 23 in the black and orange jersey at Heinz Field on Saturday, know that you are watching greatness. Boyd isn't just another Clairton great. He's the best player in Clairton history.

Save me the arguments about all the legends who have passed through Clairton. Yes, the school has produced immeasurable talent, NFL players, and many others who are remembered decades later. I realize that. But, that doesn't mean any of them were better than Boyd. If you don't believe me, just watch Saturday's game. He'll do something that will make your jaw drop.

In the first week of the season against Washington, Clairton welcomed back almost 1,000 graduates, many of whom were football greats. A handful of them played in the NFL. When Boyd was returning a punt for a long gain in that contest, you should have seen the former Clairton greats and the astonishment on their faces.

Boyd has the attributes of so many Clairton greats who have come before him. He possesses the raw power and explosiveness of Brown, the smoothness and maturity of Weatherspoon, and the pure talent that has scouts drooling, much like with Green.

Boyd also possesses a knack for the spotlight, and this is the attribute we will most remember when he is dominating at the college level and being drafted into the NFL.

Last year, when Clairton was trailing 24-0 in the PIAA championship game, it was Boyd who led the charge. He carried Clairton to that championship. There is simply no other way to describe it. As a sophomore, he willed his team to a title.

Last week was another fine example of his greatness. Playing against Rochester, the team Clairton secretly respects like none other, Boyd rushed for 200 yards and four touchdowns. Keep in mind, of course, that the original plan was to use him at wide receiver this season, until an injury to Karvonn Coles forced Boyd to play at tailback. He's a better wide receiver, which is scary enough, since he might rush for 2,000 yards this season.

Funny thing is, colleges don't even want Boyd for his offensive exploits. USC and Notre Dame — those are just a couple of the dozes of schools who badly want Boyd's services — covet him to play free safety.

Again, if you've seen him play defense, you understand.

The truth about this Clairton team is that, while it remains the favorite to win the WPIAL title and maybe the PIAA title again, it isn't as dominant as previous installments of the Bears. There isn't much depth, maybe not quite as much diversity. The play in the trenches certainly isn't as good.

But this team has Tyler Boyd.

There have been other great football players to come through the WPIAL in recent years. Rushel Shell is a star. Terrelle Pryor was a national celebrity at 17.

I'm not saying Boyd is that good, but I'm not saying he isn't.

He is a quiet star, a player who doesn't receive nearly the recognition that he deserves because he participates in Class A football.

Boyd does his talking on the football field, and he always performs in the biggest of games.

It's fitting that Boyd will be playing at Heinz Field on Saturday. It won't be the final time he performs in an NFL stadium.

How lucky we've been to watch him perform every Friday night.

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