The patience of Clemson's coaches and fans has paid off, as two-sport star Kyle Parker announced Wednesday morning that he would be returning to play quarterback for the Tigers this fall.
Parker is still in discussions with the Colorado Rockies about a contract, but it would be one that allows him to play football this year. He reportedly turned down a deal that included a $2.4 million signing bonus.
Clemson fans knew that Parker's decision would undoubtedly be the biggest factor in the team's success this year, and they can feel much more confident about the prospects for this season knowing they have an experienced quarterback returning.
Don't get me wrong, Tajh Boyd is a talented player with plenty of potential, but there was going to be a learning curve with him early in the season that could have put the Tigers out of the division race before he had a chance to come around.
And judging by the coaching staff's serious concern with Parker's decision, it is obvious that they wouldn't have been as confident with Boyd at the helm.
Clemson's inexperienced receiving corps would have been another hinderance for Boyd. The Tigers' leading returning pass catcher is Xavier Dye who amassed a whopping 14 catches in 2009.
Having a seasoned quarterback, especially one of Parker's caliber, will be helpful for the development of Clemson's receivers. Sporting a new quarterback and an unproven receiving corps would have allowed opposing defenses to key on stopping the Tiger running game. Now the passing game will at least require a modicum of respect.
In the end, Parker knew this team needed him, and when faced with the choice of spending his fall playing in front of 1,000 people in Wyoming for the Casper Ghosts (no, seriously) or playing in front of 80,000 in Death Valley, it was an easy decision.
And Clemson fans are happy to forget he ever thought about leaving and will welcome back their quarterback with open arms, and with hopes of another Atlantic division title.