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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd said he knew the question was coming on Sunday at the ACC Football Kickoff, and no -- Boyd said he is not afraid of South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
"No, I'm not afraid of anybody, honestly," Boyd said. "It's never been in my nature, never been in my character. I'm a competitor. I'm going to compete against whoever wants to compete. And it'll all take care of itself in due time."
Clowney, an All-America defensive end who is widely viewed as one of the top 2014 NFL draft prospects, caused a stir last week when he told reporters during SEC media days that he thinks Boyd is one of a handful of quarterbacks scared of him.
"I can tell Tajh Boyd is scared back there," Clowney said last Tuesday. "He ain't no sitting duck, but you can see in his eyes that he's scared of our D-linemen."
Boyd, the ACC's Heisman hopeful, didn't take his rival's bait.
"Honestly, I mean, there's a lot of talking that goes on in college football -- on the field and off the field," he said. "This is one of the more highly publicized things and, honestly, that's just not in my focus. It's not on my radar right now. I think it'll take care of itself when we play them in November and we go down there. Right now I'm just thinking about getting ready for the summer and getting ready for the opener."
Clemson plays Georgia in what should be the most anticipated opener of the season, but North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner will line up against Clowney first, as UNC travels to South Carolina on Aug. 29. Renner called Clowney "one of the most natural athletes" he's ever seen play -- and Renner has seen plenty of his first opponent.
Renner said he has watched every single South Carolina game from last season.
"He's phenomenal on tape," Renner said. "There's no player I can compare him to as far as who I've played against or seen on film. He's the best player in the country for a reason. In order to get better, you've got to play against better opponents and better players. That's the mind-set our team has. We're looking forward to the opportunity."
So is Boyd, who has yet to beat in-state foe South Carolina.
"He's a really good player -- one of the better defensive players in the country," Boyd said. "... I respect the way he plays, I respect his game. It'll be fun. We're looking forward to playing those guys down at their place. It'll be a fun one."
ESPN.com's Andrea Adelson and David Hale contributed to this story.