Tyler Boyd won four state championships at Clairton, all the while just losing one game--that coming as a high school freshman in 2009. As a starter, Clairton was 48-0.
Therefore, playing football into December is nothing new to him, even as a college freshman.
"Since my freshman year (of high school), I've been playing all the way through December," Boyd said. "You have to keep pushing, keep pounding. Even though I'm hurt, tired, legs are killing me, I don't feel like doing it but it's my job. I'm not here just to be on the team, get a full-ride. I have to help this team as a full program win this first bowl game.
And when you talk winning, and you hear Boyd's desire to win, you gain a better understanding of how he approached that winning streak in high school. You also get a glimpse of what Boyd wants to bring to Pitt, in terms of that winning attitude.
It's not really a huge factor. Since my freshman year, I've been playing all the way through December. You have to keep pushing, keep pounding. Even though I'm hurt, tired, legs are killing me, I don't feel like doing it but it's my job. I'm not here just to be on the team, get a full-ride. I have to help this team as a full program win this first bowl game.
"Just win, that's all," Boyd said, looking at this matchup with Bowling Green. "Their team, they're talking a lot of trash, I heard. That's what Coach Chryst was telling us. I don't like a team that talks a lot of trash, if you can't back it up. All we're thinking about is preparing, and hopefully we'll pull out the win."
Boyd was a second-team All-ACC selection at receiver this year. You get a better understanding of his attitude and desire to win. While he certainly sounds confident--something you hope rubs off on the rest of this team--in terms of talking about his own numbers, Boyd is quite humble.
"Without my teammates, none of these accolades would even be possible," Boyd said. "I just wanted to come in and fit in with the team, make plays for the team. I just wanted to be here for them, to make a play. Coach Bobby Engram taught me.
"I didn't have my bar set that high, 1,000 yards and 77 receptions. I wasn't expecting it to be that fast. I'm just happy I showed the whole country what I was capable of."
Putting those numbers up, even seeing the field this year, those sort of things are natural for Boyd. It's some other minor things that were the real adjustment for him as a freshman. In another facet, we see Boyd's mentality of day-to-day life that makes him succeed.
"At first, it was pretty rough on me," Boyd added. "As the weeks came on, I started getting used to it, more comfortable around campus and everything. I just feel real comfortable. I know how everything works, so I can get my scheduled better. I'm just real comfortable.
"That's real huge as a freshmen, because they have you doing a whole lot. If we don't have practice or classes, they do these little freshmen meetings, so you have to take time out and go take care of that. You probably don't feel like doing it after a late class, but you still have to do it no matter what. We have to push through it and strive through it."
So what's next for Boyd? If there's any drawback to a successful freshman season like the one he just had, it's the idea he'll have to surpass those numbers in Year Two. He'll also have to do it without Devin Street. While he's already aware of that, if he could have one thing besides a win on Thursday, it would be to have Street back, just one more time.
"I've been missing him," Boyd said. "I've been solo out there without him on my side. He put me through a lot. He taught me a lot. I learned off him. Being out there side-by-side with him, it just doesn't feel right. I think it would be more easier on me. Our game is too good for us to not be on the field together."
Much like Street has done for him, Boyd will be counted on right away in 2014 to be a leader.in some ways, he might already be one. Aside from the numbers and his experience, he talked abou one freshman receiver who has stood out to him through some early bowl preparations--someone he hopes to be able to line up with as early as next season.
"The one freshman that stood out to me was Zach (Challingsworth)," Boyd said. "He came in there, running with the twos, he made a huge play. The whole drive was him. We were in the red zone, they threw a jump ball with him. My boy from Clairton, Titus (Howard), he usually doesn't cut any slack. We don't even have that when I'm it there. He's ready. He can't wait for his name to be called. He'll probably be with us."