Clemson team dealing with turnover

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CLEMSON, S.C. --- Everywhere Kyle Parker turned on Monday, things were different.

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Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd (center) hands off to running back Andre Ellington as offensive coordinator Billy Napier looks on.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd (center) hands off to running back Andre Ellington as offensive coordinator Billy Napier looks on.

No C.J. Spiller to hand off to, no Jacoby Ford to run under his long throws and no Michael Palmer to make the critical catch at tight end.

All three seniors helped Parker stand out as a freshman quarterback who led Clemson to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game in 2009. Now, those three are gone, leaving Parker to find new people to count on.

"It's definitely pretty weird," Parker says, "missing a lot of guys who led our team last year."

Parker says it will be up to him and a different group of performers to take control and fill the void left by the departures.

Spiller was the ACC's player of the year, Ford caught 56 passes, breaking open games with his unmatchable speed, and Palmer was an all-ACC tight end who set records with 43 catches and 507 yards.

Swinney is ready for last year's backups, including runners Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper, receivers Jaron Brown and Xavier Dye, and tight end Dwayne Allen take more responsibility.

"That's the great thing about college football, guys have to move on and new guys emerge," Swinney said. "And I think you'll see a lot of guys on this team, especially offensively, emerge to be really good players."

One player that Swinney hopes will continue to emerge is Parker. However, Parker is also one of the top power hitters for Clemson's baseball team and is eligible for June's Major League Baseball draft. Should Parker get a big-league offer he can't refuse, highly regarded backup Tajh Boyd might play more of a role than he planned on. On Monday, Parker and Boyd were 1-2 in the rotation.

Last spring, Parker competed with Willy Korn for the starting job and knew he had to attend nearly every position meeting, practice and session if he wanted to play -- and he had to balance a full baseball load.

Parker was worn down by end, reflected by his production on the diamond, which did not match his freshman season when he made the all-ACC team.

This time, Parker won't have to be nearly as diligent, ceding first-team football work to Boyd when it's time for baseball.

Parker's not saying much about what he'll do in June. Swinney remains confident Parker will be back for his sophomore season at quarterback.


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