Parker, Tigers considering options

CLEMSON - The balancing act that has become Kyle Parker's spring will rev up for round three in just a couple of months.

And with baseball season getting underway in a few weeks, it's still uncertain how much he'll be involved during spring practice.

Parker will meet with football coach Dabo Swinney this Sunday to discuss their plans for Parker's commitment to football during spring practice.

Baseball coach Jack Leggett and Swinney will also meet in the near future to map out the plan. Leggett's confident that the interests of both teams will be met.

"He's quarterback of the football team and we're willing to work and do what ever we have to do to make the whole thing work," he said. "I think Kyle and coach Swinney will map things out. (Parker) will kind of tell him how he feels. I think whatever it is, it will work out well."

Towards the end of last spring, Parker admits that he was tired after splitting time between football practice and the heart of baseball season.

"I think a lot of it was the pressure of going out there (on the football field) and competing for a starting job, not knowing what was going to happen," he said. "That got to me and wore my body down. Whenever I talk to coach Swinney, we're probably going to try to smooth it out, probably not do as much.

I'm going to probably still have to be out there, but I'm going to be smart with my body."

As a sophomore on the baseball team, Parker hit .255 with 12 homeruns and 52 RBIs. As a redshirt freshman on the football team, he needed as many reps as possible on the practice field since he had minimal experience under center. Those spring practices were vital in allowing Parker to work towards winning the starting quarterback job in the fall.

Now, with a better grasp of the offense under his belt, he hopes the grind from last spring won't be as much of a burden time around.

"I remember last year, I was over there playing football then running over here, struggling to make it to a game," Parker said. "That really wears on you."

Whether that means he'll be hustling from the West Zone after an afternoon football practice to Doug Kingsmore Stadium for a baseball game, it still remains to be seen.

Parker believes Swinney will be flexible in his requirements.

"I think coach Swinney really has my best interest in mind. He's going to do whatever I ask him to because he's a good guy," he said.

After a two-day break from everything following the Music City Bowl win, Parker was in the batting cage working on his swing.

"It's getting there…it's getting into the swing of things," he said. "I feel pretty good about it. I fixed a lot of things that I thought were problems last year. I've really started differently."

Forecasting his future endeavors beyond this spring has yet to become part of the picture--whether that's going on to play professional baseball, or staying at Clemson for another year.

"There are a lot of variables. It's kind of pointless to throw out all the ‘what ifs?' Right now, I'm just enjoying being out here," Parker said. "I want to be able to play to a level that helps this team be successful."

Leggett thinks Parker should stick around Clemson for another year.

"Personally, I think it would be a great thing for him to come back to school and for another year of football and baseball," Leggett said. "He's worked hard on his football career. To do just one year and leave, I think it would kind of be unfulfilling."

He doesn't see Parker getting distracted by any of the pressures, questions and uncertainty that surrounds his future. Leggett also believes there's no cause for concern in it being a distraction for the rest of the team.

"These guys are focused on baseball…they know what they've got ahead of them," he said. "Kyle won't be distracted and they won't be distracted either."

The Clemson baseball team opens the season on Feb. 19 at 4 p.m. from Kingsmore Stadium against Miami (OH). A day later, the Tigers play at Greenville's Fluor Field at the West versus Michigan State before heading back to Clemson for a weekend finale against Furman.

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