Clemson holds annual Fan Appreciation Day

Photo Credit: Sara Jane Harris

CLEMSON (WACH) - Thousands of fans gathered at Clemson's Memorial Stadium Sunday afternoon for the Clemson Football Team's annual Fan Appreciation Day.Fans lined up and waited for hours to get autographs from their favorite Tiger coaches and players.

Prior to meeting the fans - Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney and selected players met with the media to discuss their thoughts on the upcoming season.

Swinney discussed the loss of Michael Palmer, CJ Spiller and Jacoby Ford.

"You see all these guys on these pre-season NFL games and all that and they used to be wearing that paw. And well that's college. That's what it's all about. They used to be freshmen and sophomores too. And we got guys who will step up, be the next man up," said Swinney.

And it looks like the next man up is QB Kyle Parker.Swinney almost lost his starting quarterback to the Colorado Rockies in the MLB Draft.Last week " Parker signed a $1.4 million deal with the team."Right now I TMm just awful glad he is back here. You just don TMt see many guys who can process the game like he can and throw the football like he can," said Swinney.

Swinney called his quarterback faster and more prepared than his record-breaking freshman year, even talking about Parkers NFL potential.

"If you turn on the TV and you watch any NFL football there TMs some bad quarterbacks in that league, some bad ones. They'd have a hard time beating out Kyle Parker right here," said Swinney.

"I mean there are guys in the NFL that I look up to and try to model my game after but you know I guess we'll have to see," said Parker.

Stepping up to protect the million dollar man is All America Candidate Chris Hairston.

"No more pressure than I TMve always put on myself to protect him. I never want anybody to come up and blind side him. But now that he's signed his million dollar deal he probably feels more pressure," said Hairston.

Clemson opens up it TMs 2010 season at home on Sept. 4 against North Texas.