Skip to content
Tim Boyd is a Navy man, so it makes sense that he'd run a tight ship.
His oldest son, Tajh, is a football hero and Big Man On Campus at Phoebus High, but the rules at home still apply. Among them: No driver's license, at least not yet. Doesn't matter that Tajh will be 18 in a month. He doesn't have a girlfriend, and he doesn't go to parties.
His teammate, Phantoms lineman Dominik Davenport, jokingly calls his quarterback "the house boy." As in, stays in the house and never goes out. But for Tajh, the parties, the girlfriends and the driver's license can wait. "I haven't been to one party since I moved to Hampton," said Boyd, who transferred from Landstown two summers ago. "Not one. I don't really want to, not with all the trouble that can go on. I don't need to be going out.
"I just like going to the movies, or staying home and watching football games on TV. Video games, stuff like that. You know, it helps me focus and stay out of trouble."
Neither focus nor trouble has been an issue for Boyd, who has led the Phantoms to a 26-2 record and a state championship as their starting quarterback. He's a natural leader, so much so that two of his teammates - Davenport and running back Shawne Alston - are following him to West Virginia next fall.
Recruiting analysts consider him the No. 1 quarterback in Virginia, and the third-best (under the category of dual threat) in the nation. His numbers from last season explain why. He completed 69.3 percent of his passes for 2,046 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Boyd has all the tools a quarterback needs - arm strength, touch, accuracy, speed, intelligence, guts and vision. But how many times have we seen kids who fit that description blow everything by being stupid?
Tim Boyd, who left the Navy 10 years ago and now is in the reserves, is doing his part to see that doesn't happen to his son.
"You see so many kids who think talent will get them so far," Tim Boyd said. "But it takes more than talent. It takes character. If you go around acting like a fool and a thug, that'll get you nowhere.
"All the success Tajh is having now? I enjoy it. I enjoy it because I know he deserves it."
* * *
The Boyds' townhouse off Kecoughtan Road also serves as a shrine to Tajh and Tim Jr. (T.J.), his younger brother by a year and two days. Beside the dining-room table are two glass trophy cases, the kind you'd expect to see in a high school lobby. One celebrates their Pop Warner careers. The other holds pictures and awards from high school.
The stairwell offers more photos, including one of Tajh against Stone Bridge last year, along with a framed newspaper article (another is by the front door). And then you get to Tajh's room, which looks like your average high school senior's room. Except that it's immaculate.
"Oh, no," Boyd said when asked if he had spruced it up for a visitor. "It always looks like this. I go over to my friends houses, and I'm always, 'Man, you've got to clean your room!' "
Like many of us, Tajh Khiry Boyd was named by his mother.
Unlike most of us, his name comes from a 1980s R&B group called "The Boys," who Carla Boyd liked. The members were four brothers from California, and Tajh and Khiry were two of them.
Boyd was born in Albany, Ga., while his father was stationed in Florida. The family moved to Virginia Beach when he was 5, and in 2005 he began his freshman year at Landstown. The Eagles were loaded that year, from quarterback Donny Kirby to wideout Percy Harvin. Boyd warmed the bench.
Boyd was unhappy in that role, so his father began looking for another option. He thought about moving back to Florida, where football is king, but decided to check out what the Peninsula had to offer. Tyrod Taylor was going into his senior year at Hampton, so scratch Hampton. But Phoebus had just lost Arron Ward.
So Tim Boyd checked out Phoebus, and he liked what he saw. For one, when he dropped by after the season had ended, several players already were back in the weight room. For another, there always seemed to be a college recruiter in Coach Bill Dee's office.
"I wanted Tajh to play for a good football program," Tim Boyd said. "And the Peninsula District is serious about football."
So the family moved into the Phoebus district, and Tajh took over as the Phantoms' QB1 as a sophomore in 2006. His primary job was handing off to Dennis Mathis and Haroon Brown, who combined for 3,085 yards as Phoebus went 13-1 and won the Division 5 championship.
"He told me Haroon and Mathis would be the focal point, and they just carried the team," Tajh said of Dee. "That helped me out with my confidence. But going into last year, he told me more would be on my shoulders."
Dee never needed Boyd more than the second game of the '07 season. With 6:48 remaining, Bethel took a 27-20 lead after a Boyd interception was returned for a touchdown. But instead of pouting, Boyd tied it 31/2 minutes later with a 20-yard touchdown pass.
Then, after Phoebus got the ball back, Boyd moved the offense into field-goal range. Matt Cole's 27-yard kick with eight seconds left won it, but Boyd made it possible by completing 6 of 6 passes for 92 yards after the interception.
A year later, Bruins coach Jeff Nelson still can't help but admire it.
"Watching him then, you could tell that he had been there before," he said. "He always keeps a cool head."
* * *
The greatest quarterback ever to play in the Peninsula District, most people will tell you, was Hampton's Ronald Curry. He posted mind-blowing numbers (like 76 touchdowns as a junior, which remains a state record) and was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year as a senior.
Yet as great as he was, Curry never completed better than 59 percent of his passes in a season. Boyd hit on 69.3 percent (131-of-189) of his last year.
Mind you, Boyd doesn't just throw screens all night, as his 15.6 yards-per-completion rate would suggest. He has the arm strength to go deep, but also the touch necessary on precision routes.
"Like anything, it's just repetition," he said. "And footwork, we work a lot on that. Guys like Mike Vick, they have real quick feet. But they have happy feet and don't really get set when they throw the ball. I take a lot of pride in that. I've been working on my accuracy since I was little."
So much so that Dee, not the easiest guy to please, sometimes has to tone him down.
"Tajh is such a tireless worker, and sometimes I have to be careful with him," he said. "Sometimes I have to tell him not to throw today and to do footwork drills. It's not just having a good arm. A lot of guys can throw it. Not a lot of guys are passers."
Here's another mark Boyd is pretty proud of: 26-2. That's his career record as the starter, with the losses coming to Hampton in his sophomore year and Stone Bridge in the state semifinals last December.
"It's about winning," Dee said. "And Tajh has the respect of the guys on the team. They're going to respect the guy who's the first one on the practice field and the last one off. And that's Tajh. He's the consummate quarterback and leader."
With all those traits in one package, it's no wonder Boyd has drawers full of mail and media guides from colleges around the country. His commitment to WVU in April was surprising - not for the school he chose, but rather how early he made his decision.
Boyd can't sign until February, and it'll probably make Mountaineer fans a bit nervous to learn that he's "95 percent sure" he'll sign with West Virginia. Just to be sure, he says, Boyd plans to take other visits after Phoebus' season ends.
Two years ago, he was an unknown. A year ago, he had potential. Now, he's a star.
"It's been a pretty fun ride," Boyd said. "I know sometimes it gets really crazy and some kids get big-headed. But my parents and Coach Dee, they keep me down to earth. And I thank them for that."
The Boyd file
NOTABLE: Completed 69.3 percent of his passes for 2,046 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2007.
FAMILY: Parents, Tim and Carla. Sister, Sakena, 24. Brother, T.J., 16.