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Sunday, December 16, 2012
Tyler Boyd: No leader has emerged

By Jared Shanker

Tyler Boyd contends there is no No. 1 on his list. If there was, the Clairton (Pa.) athlete would be committing in three weeks.

That likely will not be the case anymore for the ESPN 300 recruit and record-setting playmaker.

"It's still dated on [Jan. 5] but still thinking if I should commit or not. It's a decision I'm not ready for," Boyd said. "It's still Michigan State, Penn State, Rutgers, Arizona, West Virginia and Pitt.

"... If I had a No. 1, I'd be deciding on Jan. 5."

Boyd, ranked 161st, owns the career touchdown mark in the history of the WPIAL, a collection of Western Pennsylvania schools. On Friday, Boyd also helped Clairton to its fourth state title Friday and finished his career 63-1 -- with 63 of those wins all coming consecutively to claim another state record.

With numbers like those, it is no surprise in-state programs Penn State and Pittsburgh have Boyd right at the top of their recruiting boards. At different points in the last few months, neither team was really on Boyd's radar; he was indifferent about Pitt as late as earlier this summer and he dropped Penn State following the July sanctions.

Pitt has emerged as one of the frontrunners following a Nov. 16 official visit to the nearby program, and Boyd's teammate Titus Howard is committed to Pitt and fellow teammate Terrish Webb is a Pitt lean. The Panthers' surge, though, can be linked to the relationship Boyd built with coach Bobby Engram.

"Coach Engram is a real faithful dude, real cool good father figure or good friend you can trust," Boyd said. "I can talk to him about anything. I chilled with his son at the facilities. I got a real good relationship with him."

Engram, along with several other Pitt coaches, were at the state final Friday to watch Boyd.

So were several members of Penn State's staff, including assistants Stan Hixon and Charles London, the two coaches recruiting Boyd. The coaching staff at Penn State, namely coach Bill O'Brien, has allowed for the Nittany Lions to get back into the mix for Boyd.

"They got a great coaching staff. O'Brien is a great coach. They turned something from nothing," he said. "They built something and made their own legacy like us [at Clairton]. He held his ground. They still have a winning program."

Boyd is also a fan of the recruiting haul at Penn State despite the sanctions. Boyd played with No. 1 quarterback and Lions commit Christian Hackenberg at a camp, and Boyd said the two have a great chemistry.

The Nittany Lions have yet to earn an official visit from Boyd, and they were hoping to get him on campus following the championship game. Boyd wanted to celebrate the win with his teammates and participate in the town parade, however.

Boyd could make a midweek visit to Michigan State, possibly going to East Lansing on Jan. 15, which is a Tuesday. He also is planning a visit to West Virginia the following weekend.

West Virginia was supposed to host Boyd for a visit the weekend of Dec. 7, but Boyd did not show up.

"The coaches, I told them I was real banged up so I didn't want to get up and go down there," Boyd said. "They're trying to reschedule, but I told them I'm not trying to play them or doubt them. They're still in the hunt."

Boyd was banged up again Friday, but he showed his toughness by remaining in the game. Holding a 14-0 lead, Boyd injured his left shoulder but only missed a few plays. He also ended the game with a large bruise on his forehead.