CLEMSON -- A rain-soaked scrimmage Tuesday offered a sneak peek of Clemson's quarterback of the future.

Whether the future arrives next year, beyond 2011, or is a play away this year remains to be seen.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Tajh Boyd took control of the first-team offense at Death Valley on Tuesday, with Kyle Parker excused following his drama-filled deadline deal with the Rockies on Monday night.

While rain hampered the passing game, Boyd showed he learned a few lessons Tuesday. Rather than trying to force throws down field as he had in the first two scrimmages, Dabo Swinney said Boyd did a better job of taking what the defense gave him, finding and hitting his check-down targets.

Boyd's modest line included 9 of 20 passing for 68 yards and two touchdowns. Perhaps more important is he threw no interceptions.

"I thought he did a good job," Swinney said. "It's good to see him get out there in that environment with first group, a good confirmation for him (to say) 'Hey I made a lot of progress.' "

Swinney indicated the Boyd Era will probably begin next fall.

While the deal Parker agreed to Monday night allows him to continue playing football beyond 2010 at Clemson, Swinney and most pundits believe this will be Parker's final year as a college quarterback.

For one, Parker would have to give back a portion of his $1.4 million signing bonus to play football in 2011, as much as half of the bonus according to a source close to the Rockies.

Moreover, to continue playing football in college while beginning a pro baseball career is a juggling act as college athletes must take 18 credit hours per academic year to be eligible.

"I'd be pretty shocked if he doesn't head off in January and play some baseball," Swinney said. "I also wouldn't be surprised -- if he has a great year this year -- to see him at the (NFL) combine. I think the scouts are really going to be impressed with him and what they see this year."

There is one scenario where Parker might opt to give back some of his bonus money and return for his junior year. The 2011 quarterback crop is considered deep, and if Parker is considered an early-round pick for the 2012 draft he might consider returning to Clemson.

Still, Boyd probably starts next year, but he is one play away, a Parker injury away, from being the starting quarterback.

"It's great training for him in that (a Parker injury) could potentially be the case on game day," Clemson offensive coordinator Billy Napier said. "He's got a lot more confidence. He sees the big picture."

McDowell injured, Cooper out

Clemson's No. 3 running back Roderick McDowell, who led the team in rushing through two scrimmages, was carted off the field after sustaining a concussion Tuesday.

There was no timetable issued for his return and his injury leaves Clemson thin at running back. Napier said the freshmen backs are not ready to contribute, meaning Ellington and Harper need to stay healthy. … Linebacker Scotty Cooper has been held out of the last two scrimmages due to shoulder and neck pain.

Extra points

Sure, C.J. Spiller supplied 20 plays of 20-plus yards from scrimmage last year, but Jamie Harper showed Tuesday the big play might still exist at Clemson, rushing for 141 yards on nine carries, including a 50-yard touchdown run. … Da'Quan Bowers was expected to return to practice Monday night, but was still absent from the football complex Tuesday. … Justin Parker missed the scrimmage to be with his ailing mother.

Reach Travis Sawchik at tsawchik@postandcourier.com, check out the Clemson blog at postandcourier.com/blogs/tiger_tracks.