Parker return jumpstarts Tigers

CLEMSON – Word didn't come their way by Tuesday, as originally promised, but it wasn't long after midnight Wednesday when Kyle Parker told Clemson coaches he'd be back to play football this fall.

Head coach Dabo Swinney was first called by Carl Parker, Kyle's dad. Around 12:15, Kyle was beeping in on the other line.

"I was at peace with whatever he would have told me and was ready for him to say, ‘I'm gone.' He was pretty matter of fact," Swinney said. "He said, ‘Let's go play some football.'"

Offensive coordinator Billy Napier got word from Kyle at 12:06.

"In terms of myself and our team, all along our guys were preparing for both situations," Napier said. "There's no doubt that this is a huge step in the right direction."

Instead of a second-straight year with a starting quarterback who has never thrown a pass in college football, Clemson returns a 14-game starter with 20 touchdown passes under his belt.

"No matter what you say, you can't coach that experience. The guy's been out there and played 14 games," Napier said. "He's a proven winner."

Now it's time to move forward.

Parker is scheduled to return to Clemson on Monday when he'll join his teammates for the final week of workouts before camp opens on Aug. 3.

"We have had a great offseason," Napier said. "There' still a little bit of work left to do in the second session. It'll be great to have Kyle back Monday and get him around our players.

"We'll let that momentum be a factor as we prepare. Hopefully we'll finish strong and move forward with a great fall camp."

Since Parker was drafted in the first-round of the MLB draft by the Colorado Rockies earlier this summer, the starting quarterback job was believed to be up for grabs between red shirt senior Michael Wade and red shirt freshman Tajh Boyd.

Swinney said he operated under the assumption that Parker would be back under center.

"He could have closed this door a long time ago and just moved on," Swinney said. "I think people discount that he's a really good player and enjoys playing college football—the experience.

"The amount of money he may be walking away from—with what he could still sign for—I don't think it's as big an issue as people put out there."

Judging by the conversation he had with his starting quarterback early Wednesday morning, Swinney is confident that Parker's sure of the decision.

"Kyle's got a lot of peace with his decision. I could hear it in his voice," Swinney said. "When he called last night, it sounded like he had is jaw set a little bit. He had a real resolve in his voice."

There's still no word on whether the decision to play football will extend beyond 2010. Swinney said if the Rockies contract is signed before school starts they'll treat the 2010 like Parker's senior season.

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