Clairton star 'confused' after West Virginia stop
Clairton senior Tyler Boyd knew the cameras and all eyes were on him Jan. 5 at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio when he stood behind a table arrayed with baseball caps from Pitt, West Virginia and Michigan State.
He picked up the Pitt hat and committed to the Panthers.
With less than a week remaining until national signing day Feb. 6, Boyd is wondering if he made the right choice.
"I'm so confused right now I didn't even want to come to the (Tuesday Clairton basketball) game," Boyd said. "I'm real frustrated and confused in the head, and that's why I'm … trying to keep my head, stay steady and get through a lot of this process and then basketball."
Boyd was scheduled to visit Tennessee last weekend — a visit he instead plans to take Friday — but headed for Morgantown and an official visit to West Virginia.
"It was pretty good, but it was nothing like I expected," Boyd said. "It was a nice program, and I liked it. I could see myself in the spread offense, and it's something I could see myself in. I've still got a big decision to make."
Boyd, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Player of the Year, finished his career with the WPIAL record for career touchdowns.
He is the fifth-leading rusher in WPIAL history with 5,755 yards, and he scored 117 touchdowns. Though he played as a running back and Wildcat quarterback his last two seasons and amassed 4,984 rushing yards and 98 touchdowns, he is projected to be a wide receiver in college.
If he follows through with his commitment to Pitt, there would be five former Clairton players on the roster heading into training camp. Along with Boyd and senior teammates Titus Howard and Terrish Webb, the Panthers also have receiver Kevin Weatherspoon, who will be a redshirt junior, and defensive back Trenton Coles, who will be a redshirt freshman in the fall.
Boyd said he felt a need to make a decision on a national stage.
"I just think I pressured myself and people pressured me, and I just took it the wrong way, the way everybody was preaching to me since Day 1," Boyd said. "I'm trying to get straight back on track now."
In a way, he is a victim of his and Clairton's success. Because the Bears won four consecutive PIAA Class A titles, including a 20-0 victory over Dunmore in the 2012 final Dec. 14, he had limited time to look universities.
Though he wouldn't be on a team with Howard and Webb, he would have a couple of familiar faces in the Mountaineers locker room with one of his closest friends, quarterback Chavas Rawlins of Monessen, and linebacker Hodari Christian of McKeesport.
Both finished school early and enrolled for the spring semester.
What makes this decision even more difficult is the reception he's gotten for committing to Pitt; not only from friends and family in Clairton, but around the region. After the Bears win Tuesday at Carmichaels, a few people waited outside the team's locker room for him to autograph Pitt memorabilia and for a photo opportunity.
“It's feels real good and it shows me how much I achieved,” Boyd said. “But I was like them at one time, so it's nice to do something like that for them. I never really asked for any autographs, but I went to a couple of (former Jeannette quarterback Terrelle Pryor's) games and I based myself off him and how he was in high school.”
Pryor and Boyd may end up having something else in common. On National Signing Day in 2008, Pryor had everyone waiting with bated breath over his decision before he stepped up to the microphone and officially announced that he was postponing until a later date.
Although signing day is Wednesday, Boyd has until April 1 — the end of this year's signing period — to decide where he wants to go. For now, he is committed to Pitt.
"It felt good at the time because my boys are there and I'd love to play the next four years with my bros and my family, but it ain't about that," Boyd said. "I'm just trying to go somewhere that best fits me."</