Parker makes his case

CLEMSON — Saturday might have been one of the longest days in Kyle Parker's young life, but he will probably be the first to say it was well worth it.

The 6-foot, 210-pound freshman quarterback started the day by completing 13-of-21 passes for 171 yards in the White's 30-13 win over the Orange at Memorial Stadium in the football program's annual Orange and White game, and then ended it with a baseball double-header against the Miami Hurricanes over at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

In the first game against the Hurricanes, he had three hits, including a home run, while driving in three runs. Earlier on the football field, he threw a touchdown pass to tight end Durrell Barry.

"I'm proud of how he has balanced both," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. "He is one of those unique kids that has the ability to do both. It is not something you see very often, but he can do it."

Parker finished the spring with five touchdowns and no interceptions through the three major scrimmages in Death Valley.

"Like I have been telling you, he has put himself up there in the hunt," Clemson offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Billy Napier said. "It has not taken him long to do it and he is playing baseball right now too so that's impressive too.

"It will be great to see him when I have him everyday once baseball is over and Jack (Leggett) goes and wins the College World Series this year, but the next day he will be a football player for Clemson all the time. I think, obviously, he can be a very consistent player and I'm extremely excited he is on our team."

The 24,000 Clemson fans in attendance Saturday are as well, and some might come away from the Spring Game feeling he is the best man for the job when the football season opens on Sept. 5.

"Kyle had the best day today. That is pretty obvious," Napier said. "He made a lot of plays today so I'm proud of him, but I'm at every spring practice and I'm at every meeting and we have a lot of work to do and we will see who wants it."

Parker definitely wanted it in the Spring Game as his performance was overall better than that of Willy Korn's and Michael Wade's. Korn completed 12-of-25 passes with two interceptions for 144 yards, while Wade was just 5-of-13 for 80 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Perhaps the best play for Parker was his touchdown pass to Barry. On third-and-goal from the 3-yard line, he faked a handoff to Jamie Harper and rolled to his right to about the 10. At that point, he stopped and threw the ball on the money across the field to a wide open Barry in the end zone.

"I took (from this spring) that Kyle Parker as a redshirt freshman was able to put himself on a level playing field with two veteran guys," Napier said. "It was good to see that all three guys have shown the ability to go win for us and that is a good thing to see."

And maybe a better thing that one of them is starting to show some separation.

"I think they all made some good reads and some good throws and I think Kyle Parker had an exceptional day, again," Swinney said. "I think he took his team down and scored every time, I think… I'm extremely impressed. His best practices have been the last four.

"He has had really four exceptional practices and I thought he played great today. He made a lot happen. He is an active kid. He can run and he has a lot of instincts and he has a special tool lying on his right shoulder there."


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