Big decision still ahead

CLEMSON - Strangely enough, Kyle Parker's biggest decision may still be ahead of him.

NOTE: A high-speed internet connection is recommended to view this video. Alternatively, you may download this video by right-clicking on this link, and clicking "Save Target As..."

CUTigersTV: Kyle Parker



Press Play (Windows Media Required)

Please allow 10 seconds for the video to begin as it will start automatically.

Listening to Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney talk about his prize quarterback, you almost get the sense he knows something the rest of the world doesn't.

Of course, that shouldn't be surprising since he was the one all along who suggested Kyle Parker could very well come back to play football this season instead of opting for a Major League Baseball career while the rest of humanity thought he was already long gone.

After Thursday's practice Swinney said he wasn't all that nervous when Parker was negotiating with the Rockies Monday night because he knew he would be back in town to rejoin the team later this week.

By then the stress was long gone for Clemson's second-year head man because Parker had already decided to return to Clemson July 20 in an earlier, self-imposed deadline.

But he also dropped another little tidbit regarding his star quarterback's future too.

His football playing days after this season may not be over.

"I don't think July 20 is the biggest decision coming his way. I think the bigger decision is in front of him," Swinney said.

"That's a really good thing for Clemson because I would say he's probably really motivated to have a great season this year to continue to improve his stock, his leverage and his options. It's all about options. And I think he's highly motivated to have a really good season and I think he will."


"I honestly don't know right now," Parker said. "I wouldn't come back playing if I didn't think I was any good or there wasn't going to be a future for me (playing football). Is it going to outweigh my baseball future? I don't know yet." (Roy Philpott)
What Swinney means is his NFL "options" - as in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Parker told reporters after his first day back since Monday's last-minute signing he was "99 percent" sure this was his last year of college football, but he left the door open, much in the same way Swinney did, about a potential career in the NFL.

"I honestly don't know right now," Parker said. "I wouldn't come back playing if I didn't think I was any good or there wasn't going to be a future for me (playing football). Is it going to outweigh my baseball future? I don't know yet.

"Hopefully I can sit back at the end of the season and kind of look at it and maybe make an evaluation. If not, I'll go play baseball and be the happiest person in the world doing that. Honestly, I love doing both."

Parker, who has only played one year on the field at Clemson, would be draft eligible because he redshirted his first season.

If he were to improve on his 2,500-plus yards and 20 touchdowns from a year ago, there stands to be a reasonable chance he could make a little noise at next year's NFL combine and also the draft.

"I wouldn't be here if I didn't want to play football and that's what I told them (Colorado). I wouldn't have signed with them unless I wanted to play baseball. So I still have a ton of options open," Parker said. "I'm excited that I have a path already created for me within an organization that obviously values me as a first-round pick and wants to do everything they can to get me at the highest level."

So while the drama regarding his college career is now likely over, which career path Parker takes from this point going forward remains a bit of a mystery.

Put up huge numbers this coming season and he could be a draftable quarterback next April and opt to play in the NFL.

Or he could always fall back on his baseball contract with the Rockies- one that will pay him $1.4 million.

Not a bad position to be in for a 20-year old college student.

"Like I've said a million times, I'm truly blessed with this opportunity," he said. "It's tough for me to sit back and say I was stressed about it. I'm just happy it's happened to me and I'm blessed to be in this situation."

CUTigers.com Top Stories