Swinney discusses Parker, options

CLEMSON - Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney goes in-depth about Kyle Parker's upcoming decision about playing college football one more season.


What are your initial thoughts on Kyle Parker and where he was drafted?
Swinney: "Actualy I didn't see it (the drafting of Parker). I was speaking in Greenville last night and when I walked out and looked at my phone I had a voicemail from Tim Bourret. I said, 'Oh boy.' I had a text message from a friend - 'KP to the Rockies with the 26th pick.' I was like - well here we go. I called Tim and we talked a little bit about it. I called Kyle's dad ... actually listening to the game and congratulated them. Told him we'd talk later.

"Now we know where somebody values him as a baseball player. He's the 26th pick. It really doesn't surprise me. They had a lot of success with Todd Helton, who was a quarterback and a baseball guy and maybe they see the same characteristics in Kyle. So we aren't surprised. Really happy for Kyle. You get all these young men we have were kids at one time and they all dream about being a professional athlete. That's a big deal. It's a great credit to Kyle and his drive that he's had the work ethic he's had to be great. Here's a guy who has just excelled in both areas.

"I've said it many times, 'I still think he's a better football player.' I think he's got the ability to be a phenomenal quarterback. Ultimately he'll have to make the decision on what he has to do. Obviously the finances are going to have a big part of this. I don't know what the 26th pick gets or how they slot it but for him to walk away from playing football and giving up a potential professional career in that sport as well ... somebody has got to be willing to pay him for that. I know there will be a lot of talk between now and when he has to decide. August 14 is the deadline. I don't think it will go that long.

"But until we have some facts and figures from their negociations with baseball I think it will be hard for him to make a decision. The ball will be in his court at that point. We'll support him no matter what he decides."

Obviously the Rockies understand his situation and that it will take a premium to sign him. Do you feel like he will sign with the team?
Swinney: "I personally think he will definitely sign with professional baseball. I really don't doubt that at all. I kind of felt like that would be the case regardless. My biggest question was, 'does he continue to play football? Or does he walk away?' That's been the question in my mind. I felt like if he was drafted in the first three rounds he would definitely sign. Baseball is a whole different animal. In fact I had a young man in my office last week who has been playing professional baseball for the last four years and is now considering playing football. It ultimately comes down to what he wants to do.

"There was the guy at Notre Dame, Jeff Samardzija - he signed and played as a fifth round draft pick. I bet if you asked him now if he regretted that decision his response would be absolutely not. That worked out really well for him. I think he negociated a long term type of deal but he negociated to play football. He wouldn't take anything away from the kind of season he had playing football.

"Those are all the kinds of thoughts that Kyle has to process. At the end of the day it's going to come down to finances and what they put in front him."

Is he a Drew Brees kind of guy at quarterback?
Swinney: "Absolutely. Coach [Woody] McCorvey just spent a bunch of time with the Ravens and he reminds you a lot of Troy Smith. I'd hate to see him not play football and that's a selfish thing but he's got unlimited potential at the position. He's only going to get better and better. What he did as a freshman is phenomenal."

You've said previously your gut instinct was that he would be back to play one more year at Clemson. Do you feel like that now after he was drafted as high as he was?
Swinney: "That's been my gut all along. But I didn't think he would be drafted that high. That was a little bit of a surprise to me. I thought he would be in the first round with those 50 picks. 26th was a little higher than I thought he would be drafted. But again, until he tells me he's not playing football it's been my stand all along he would be back.

"But if he's not, we've got Mike Wade is a guy that we as a staff that we have a lot of confidence in, or we have to go with a freshman, and it's not good for your health to live with a freshman quarterback, man I'm ready to go with a guy like Tajh Boyd. There would be some growing pains and we'd grow with him. But there's nobody else I'd rather be with than him. Puts us in a little bit of a bind obviously with one our quarterbacks transfering out of here.

"If we lose Kyle to baseball, we don't have a lot of depth. We'll have to protect him well and run the ball and play a lot of defense.

Kyle's dad didn't give you any insight at all?
Swinney: No. I congratulated him and we talked about the ball game. I told him the important thing right now is focusing on baseball and beating Alabama this weekend and going to the World Series. Me and Carl will be talking a lot. He's great. We'll be talking a good bit.

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