Position facts: Quarterback

The open of fall camp is right around the corner and CUTigers is taking a look at facts for each position. Here are a few facts about the quarterbacks before camp opens next Tuesday, Aug. 3.

A week ago the summer-long debate between red shirt freshman Tajh Boyd and fifth-year senior Michael Wade raged on.

The guy who knows the offense like the back of his hand?


The guy with loads of talent, but is still learning?

Now, it is indeed a fact. It's the guy who started 14 games in 2009 and led Clemson to a 9-5 record and Music City Bowl win over Kentucky.

Kyle Parker is scheduled to start Clemson's season opener on Sept. 4 when North Texas comes to Tigertown.

The Colorado Rockies' first-round draft pick in the 2010 MLB Draft will throw a few more touchdown passes before devoting his career to baseball.

Parker, a red-shirt sophomore out of Jacksonville, Fla., threw for 2,500 yards and 20 touchdown passes last season, setting several school passing records for a freshman. Then, in 2009, he had C.J. Spiller, Jacoby Ford and Michael Palmer. The trio accounted for over 60 percent of the Tigers' receptions last season.

There's a new trio ready to step forward to help Parker avoid the slump. Running backs Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper are set to carry the load in the Tigers' ground game, relieving some of the pressure off Parker.

The only question is how much. Already anointed as the future of the position, Boyd may not have even been named the starter if Parker had solely devoted his efforts to professional baseball. It was apparent during spring practice that Boyd wasn't quite ready to take over as the starting signal caller at Clemson.

Even Boyd himself admitted last week that Parker's return might be of benefit to his development.

Quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator Billy Napier will prepare Boyd as if he's the starter each week. In fact, Boyd will get plenty of snaps in the first two games on the schedule (North Texas and Presbyterian). However, snaps in the following two games are unlikely (Auburn and Miami).

As previously mentioned, there's a trio of highly productive pass catchers that Parker won't have the luxury of throwing to in 2010. Spiller, Ford and Palmer combined for 135 receptions, 1,789 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns a year ago.

Several prognosticators, including us here atCUTigers are predicting a big season for tight end Dwayne Allen, who had 10 receptions for 108 yards and three touchdowns last season.

Wide receiver Xavier Dye is the top returning receiver with 14 receptions in 2009. Terrance Ashe, Ellington and Harper each had 11 catches.

It's a wide-open race for the three wide receiver positions. At the end of spring practice, the depth chart listed Brandon Clear/Dye, Ashe and Marquan Jones as the starters. Jaron Brown, DeAndre Hopkins and Bryce McNeal also figure to be in the mix.

The only quarterback commit in the 2011 class, Chester High School standout Tony McNeal is set to enroll at Clemson in January, like former Chester teammate and current Clemson guard Kalon Davis.

McNeal was in Tigertown for the Dabo Swinney Football Camp in June. Despite wearing a bulky knee, because of ACL surgery during the winter, McNeal looked impressive slinging the ball around to future teammate Charone Peake and Clemson target Sammy Watkins.

In late July, McNeal led a group of other highly touted prospects from the Southeast to a 4-0 record in the Gridiron Kings 7on7 tournament.

Scout.com lists McNeal as the nation's No. 41 ranked quarterback and rates him with three stars.

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