Parker to Return to Clemson...For Now
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Kyle Parker will be back to lead the Tigers in 2010. The Colorado Rockies and Clemson two-sport athlete Kyle Parker were unable to come to a contract agreement, and the quarterback and right fielder will be back wearing orange and purple again this fall in Death Valley. However, talks are still underway, and this situation could possibly change. The chances look strong though, that Parker will return...For Tiger fans across the land, this is the third straight season they have seen a football player decide to return to Clemson rather than turning pro. As football season is just around the corner, Clemson's chances at a big season just took a major step back towards reality.
It has been a while since I have typed an article at three am, but this has me super excited. For weeks I have been thinking (and at times even saying) that I thought Parker would return. Countless times, I was told I was wrong - most times with a laugh involved. And if I would have been wrong, it wouldn't have surprised me all that much to be honest. After all, KP (as he is commonly known in the Clemson universe) was going to be offered the big bucks to play a sport at which he was very good. The folks telling me he was gone for sure were good sports folks that I liked talking sports with, and I partly almost had to believe them. It seemed like a no-brainer.
But I got to thinking, and weeks ago I had this feeling he was coming back. You see, even if he still wanted to make baseball his career, 2010 isn't the last year he will have bargaining power with the MLB folks. As long as he has eligiblity remaining in either sport, he can use that to his advantage for more money. Shoot, he could do this all over again next year!
Yes and no, this was and was not about money.
I'm sure that the thought of a couple of million dollars bounced through KP's dome more than once or twice since the June MLB draft (where he went in the first round). I'm sure as an intelligent young man he (and his family) thought about what he could do to secure his future with that money. I'm sure they all took deep breaths and said "wow!" But despite the money, the rush that is felt by having 80,000 people hanging on your every move is huge, and in the end, apparently was too intense to turn down. The thrill of leading an offense of eleven of your best friends was too big to let go with time still left on the clock. The coolness of being the BMOC at a school loaded with attractive coeds was too much to just throw away.
It isn't just the benefits of being "the man" at a major football school that most-likely attracted Parker to come back. In my honest opinion, I'm betting that he simply just plain loves to play football and he wasn't ready to give that up yet. If he chose the Rockies, his playing days on the gridiron were finished. Done. Go ahead and get rid of all of your football gear. Forever. To those that love to play football, that would be the ultimate suckage.
And though I have never been fortunate enough to be a part of a football team, I can say I don't blame those guys. The thrill of playing that sport must be amazing - that's why I cram into my seat every Saturday in the fall to watch! Let's face it, we would all love to be a big-time college quarterback making plays and throwing touchdowns. We would all love to show off our rocket arm if we had one. We would all love to pick up a huge fourth-and-long late in a game and hear the crowd go wild for us. Admit it, we would. That's why college football is hands down the greatest competition the world has ever known!
Davis and Spiller.
Another reason I thought Parker may return was that James Davis and CJ Spiller of the Tiger football team both chose to return to Clemson after being considered all but gone to the professional ranks in 2008 and 2009. Both chose to come back for more time in Tiger Town, and both of these players had good seasons after returning. Spiller's stock rose considerably from junior year to senior year. Parker's future long term may be in baseball, but for now, I think he really wants to show what he can do on the football field. I mean, he was a major, major recruit coming out of high school!
When Davis and Spiller came back, both times I heard so many folks say it was a mistake. But both players will tell you that it was a good idea, and I'm sure KP may have spoken with them (courtesy of Dabo!). I would guess Davis and Spiller are both pretty proud of the Clemson degrees they have on their walls. And while Parker is still a couple of years away from his degree, twelve more months on campus gets you closer to that goal.
The 2010 season.
So anyway, it is now almost 4 am, and I want to go back to sleep. But as a die-hard Tiger fan, I may not be able to! With no Kyle Parker, I saw Clemson looking at a six to seven win season. Of course no matter what I would still be pumped for each game thinking we would win it, but inside my hopes were grim....But with KP back to lead the offense, I honestly think the Tigers can think nine or ten wins with some luck. That could mean a possible division crown and ACC title game appearance.
Yes, I think Parker is a three win difference for this team. He is a gamer, and I can't wait to see what he does in 2010 under center. I like the decisions he makes on the fly, and his arm speaks for itself. He is good at reading defenses, and he has quick feet. With a full freshman season under his belt (2,526 yards, 20 touchdowns, 12 picks), he will be one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC this fall. His instincts on the field combined with his athletic ability make him a special player.
As mentioned at the top of the article, Parker could in fact still have a contract agreement with the Rockies. But if nothing else, this shows he is dead serious about playing football again.
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