When the Clemson Tigers take the field at noon ET on Dec. 31 for the 2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl, quarterback Kyle Parker will start for the team against the South Florida Bulls. On Monday night, Parker informed head coach Dabo Sweeney that he would play in the game. After the bowl, it is likely that Parker will have played his last game for Clemson and will commit to the Colorado Rockies for his long-term future.
The Rockies drafted Parker in the first round of the 2010 June draft and then spent the summer attempting to sign him to a contract. First there was a July 20 deadline for Parker to commit to a baseball-only contract with the Rockies, but Parker turned that down. He wanted to go back to Clemson after a 2009 season in which he threw for 2,526 yards and 20 touchdowns.
However, the Rockies still had until midnight Aug. 16 to beat the signing deadline and prevent Parker from going back into the draft in 2011. Both sides agreed to a $1.4 million deal minutes before the deadline. With that done, Parker returned to Clemson, but had his struggles throughout the season. He took a hard hit to the back in a loss to the Auburn Tigers in September. He wound up throwing for just over 2,000 yards and had 12 touchdowns to 10 interceptions.
The Tigers struggled to become bowl-eligible. After starting 2-0, the team went on a three-game losing streak that was followed by a two-game winning streak. The team then alternated losses and wins over the last five games of the season to finish 6-6--just enough wins to be considered for a bowl game.
The Denver Post's Troy Renck reports that Parker has until Jan. 15 to inform the Rockies if he will remain with Clemson while playing baseball, but it appears that Parker will give up football. He will forfeit portions of his signing bonus if he plays football going forward.
Parker, an outfielder, will play for the Low-A Asheville Tourists in 2011, where he will need to adjust to wood bats, work on pitch recognition and translate his power potential into home runs.