Clemson's Parker Has Decision to Make After Rockies Take Him in First Round
Parker, Clemson's two-sport star, was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the first round (26th overall) of the MLB Draft Monday night. Parker also smacked his team-high 20th home run on Monday to help the Tigers beat Auburn and advance to this weekend's Super Regional at home against Alabama.
Parker, who doubles at quarterback and as an outfielder, is the first Division I athlete to record 20 touchdown passes on the gridiron and hit 20 home runs in baseball in the same academic year. He was also the first ACC athlete to play on a division champion in football and baseball in the same year.
Parker, who projects as a corner outfielder in the major leagues, is hitting .358 and has a team-high 66 runs batted in. Parker is the first Clemson player taken in the first round since left-handed pitcher Daniel Moskos was the fourth pick of the 2007 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In an interview with FanHouse earlier this baseball season, Parker said he was unsure of his future plans but just wanted to concentrate on the task at hand.
Parker, the quarterback, made the most of his limited time on the practice field during spring drills. A sore back that required an MRI actually kept him on the football sidelines and in the baseball dugout for a short time in early April.
"I don't know right now. I will take it day-by-day, coming out there and having fun, playing hard and helping us win," Parker said.
"The biggest thing is if you start worrying about stuff being said and (speculation), it takes you out of your game. I am going to try to stick to what got me here and keep playing hard."
Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney had previously expressed confidence that Parker will return to Clemson for his redshirt sophomore season in football.
Parker's decision whether to play professional baseball, of course, will come down to money. It's believed Parker could demand a signing bonus of upward of $3 million to walk away from football.
"I am happy for Kyle," Swinney said Monday night.
"He has worked hard all season. He has had a tremendous baseball season after he had a terrific year at quarterback for us in the fall. Being the first 20-20 (TD passes and home runs) athlete in college sports history is really quite an accomplishment.
"It is not surprising that he was drafted by Colorado because they have had great success with Todd Helton, who also played quarterback at Tennessee. We will sit down with Kyle and his family some time after the baseball season ends. We won't do anything to disrupt our baseball team in postseason play. At least now we know where he stands.
"Kyle is a fine young man and we will respect whatever decision he makes. I feel he has a bright future in football as well and certainly hope he will be under center for us this fall."