CLEMSON, S.C. Not much has changed for Clemsons newest millionaire at least not yet anyway.
Quarterback Kyle Parker says he still cant afford to buy dinner after agreeing to a deal with the Colorado Rockies for about $1.4 million.
They dont realize I havent gotten paid yet, he said Thursday. So Im just the same broke college student as anyone else on this campus right now.
Parker wont see the bulk of his baseball money until hes in the Rockies organization full time.
Thats OK with Parker, whos ready to put baseball on the back burner and focus fully on football, a sport Clemson coach Dabo Swinney thinks could bring Parker even more financial stability with another standout college season.
I think the much bigger decision is in front of Parker, Swinney said. I would say he is probably motivated to have a really good season this year to improve his stock, his leverage and his options.
Parker, a 20-year-old redshirt sophomore, would be eligible for the NFL draft next April. Parker isnt worried yet about his football future beyond this fall.
Hopefully, I can sit back at the end of the season and kind of look at it and maybe make an evaluation about football, Parker said. If not, Ill go play baseball and be the happiest person in the world doing that.
Parker wasnt too pleased when negotiations with Colorado stalled until the minutes before the MLB deadline. He already felt stressed his last few football practices and grew frustrated as Mondays midnight deadline ticked closer.
Parker was excused from both of Clemsons workouts Monday to talk with the Rockies. But he felt anxious and worried as the sides went back and forth into the night.
A lot of heavy language and indecision, Parker said. The agreement was reached at 11:55 p.m. Eastern time, five minutes before the Rockies wouldve lost Parkers rights.
Thats just the way its done, Parker said. But theres so much time in between, why do you have to cram it into the last two hours.
When it was done, Parker was satisfied that both his baseball and football futures were intact.
Im just happy those doors are open, and Im happy (Colorado) would invest that in me to be a professional player, he said.
Parker missed Tuesdays scrimmage at Clemson after his stressful night. There was no practice Wednesday with the start of classes so Parker didnt return to action until Thursdays two-hour afternoon workout.
Swinneys been impressed with Parkers steadiness and attitude throughout camp as the baseball contract loomed. The coach said Parkers kept his eyes on Clemsons goal of an Atlantic Coast Conference championship, something the Tigers sorely want after losing to Georgia Tech in the title game last fall.
Parker started all 14 games last year as a redshirt freshman, throwing for 20 touchdowns and 2,526 yards. His poise and strong arm were big reasons why Clemson ran off six consecutive wins on the way to its first Atlantic Division crown.
Last spring, the junior outfielder and designated hitter hit 20 homers the first Division I athlete to go 20-20 in TDs and home runs the same academic year and led the Tigers into the College World Series.
Parker was playing at an NCAA regional in Auburn when the news he was taken with Colorados first pick touched off a mini celebration among family and friends in attendance.
Parker acknowledged that, as a first-round pick, he thought he was finished with Clemson. However, the Parker family would not meet the Rockies terms to give up football, and Parker was soon back on campus and reconnecting with teammates.
The Rockies didnt try and talk Parker out of college football this time around.
I felt like I got the best of both worlds, he said. I get to come back here and hopefully play an awesome team every Saturday and enjoy the experience.
Then I can go play baseball and pursue that in the spring, he said.