Clemson’s coaching staff as well as the fans of the Tigers football program were forced to sweat it out this offseason regarding whether or not they would lose starting quarterback Kyle Parker to baseball.
Come this time next year, there will be no such concern.
In a move that’s expected but still noteworthy, Parker said Thursday afternoon following practice that it’s a near-certainty this would be his final year as a quarterback at the collegiate level. Following the completion of the 2010 season, the redshirt sophomore will fully embark — probably — on his career as a professional baseball player.
“I have a clear understanding with coach Swinney and me that this is 99 percent probably my last year of playing football here,” Parker said. “There’s probably definitely a great chance I’d end up playing baseball only as a career. I signed this (contract) with the intent of playing baseball.”
Late Monday night, Parker agreed to a contract with the Colorado Rockies that will pay him a $1.4 million signing bonus. While he’s all but done as a college player, he may not be completely done with football at a different level.
As Parker is a redshirt sophomore, he will be eligible for the 2011 NFL draft. Parker didn’t completely rule out taking part in February’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in an attempt to gauge where his pro football stock is after two seasons of starting at a BcS school.
“Honestly, I don’t know right now,” Parker said of his professional future. “I wouldn’t be back playing (football) if I didn’t think I wasn’t any good or there wasn’t any future for me, but is it going to outweigh my baseball future? I don’t know yet.
“Hopefully I can sit back at the end of this season, look at it and make an evaluation. If not, I’ll go play baseball and be the happiest person in the world doing that.”