Parker not thinking about future
He first made a name for himself at Clemson in the spring of 2008 as a slugging outfielder on the baseball team. A Freshman All-American that season, Parker would have been playing high school ball that spring had he not graduated high school early.
In his first season as the Tigers' signal caller this fall, he's thrown for 2,294 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Parker acknowledges that a decision between pro baseball and at least one more season of college football could have to be made as early as this spring. Whatever happens, he's always dreamed of being a professional athlete.
The path he choses in a few months doesn't matter at the moment.
"Playing in that environment and for this university has been so much fun," Parker said. "I haven't had this much fun in any sport in a long time. I'm just enjoying it.
"I really don't want to have to worry about deciding what I want to do right now."
Though seeing a quarterback like Drew Brees, who's of similar stature to Parker, makes the dreams pro football seem a little more possible, he's not ready to himself anywhere near that level.
But it's nice to think about.
"I guess that leaves a lot of hope for me, but he's an awesome player," he said.
Parker's been pretty good in his own right through 12 games, having engineered the Tigers to eight wins and the school's first ACC Championship game. He's also broken Charlie Whitehurst's freshman passing records for yards touchdowns.
Before Clemson's first game against Georgia Tech, Parker was unproven on the football field.
Down 24-0 not even a full minute into the second quarter of the game--his second as a college quarterback, he showed the moxie of a seasoned upperclassman.
To him, that's what being a quarterback is all about.
"The biggest thing as a quarterback is you're a leader, and they're going to follow what you're doing," Parker said. "If you're frustrated and letting your emotions show, those guys will kind of copy that.
"I think they're getting more confidence in me," he said. "That's the biggest thing. I think when they have that; they have more confidence in the offense."
Parker admits that he knew there was uncertainty in him. "It was just like, ‘What are we going to go out here and do?'"
Entering the season not knowing what to expect either, he was ready to go with the flow.
He credits C.J. Spiller, Thomas Austin and Michael Palmer for helping him along the way as a leader.
"Those guys definitely are leaders too," Parker said.
Heading on what he believes is the right track to end as a solid season, Parker's not ready to close the book and call it a success, for him or the team.
On the brink of earning the school's first BCS Bowl berth, if he and his teammates close the season with winners of the Orange Bowl on Jan. 5, there's not a lot of time for Parker to reflect with baseball just around the corner in February.
For a guy who lives in the now, beating Georgia Tech is all he's concerned about.
CUTigers.com Top Stories
GRADES AND ANALYSIS: NC State#3 Clemson committed 4 turnovers, including 3 in the red zone and a pick-six, in its 24-17 overtime win over NC State in Death Valley.
CUTigers.comThursday at 2:52 PM
Clemson Basketball Media DayWatch Head Coach Brad Brownell and his assistant coaches discuss the upcoming basketball season at Clemson Media Day!
CUTigers.comThursday at 1:30 PM
PHOTO GALLERY: #3 Clemson vs NC StateEnjoy these images from Clemson's thrilling overtime victory versus NC State in Death Valley, courtesy of CUTigers Photographer John Bolton!
CUTigers.comThursday at 11:12 AM
College coaches who could get hired awayWhy these highly sought college football coaches would leave (and why they could stay)
ScoutThursday at 10:00 AM