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Clemson Football

No Time Wasted: Clemson pours into Klubnik early

August 22, 2022
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Freshman quarterback Cade Klubnik has made significant mental and physical progress as we lead up to Clemson’s opener against Georgia Tech on September 5 in Atlanta.

Klubnik has impressed football fans since his playing days at Texas powerhouse Westlake High. 

The Chaparrals won three consecutive state championships in 2019, 2020, and 2021, including the final two years with Klubnik as the starter. In doing so, he became the first quarterback to go undefeated as a starter while winning back-to-back state titles in Texas’ highest classification since Allen High’s Kyler Murray.

Since arriving at Clemson last semester, Klubnik hit the ground running, according to Head Coach Dabo Swinney.

“We didn't want to waste a rep, we didn’t want to waste a minute. He needed all that work,” Swinney said of the former 5-star and top-rated quarterback in the 2022 class.

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“I think he was 179 pounds or something like that when he got here-- now he's 197. So physically, he had a lot of work to do,” Swinney continued. “He's done it. He's in a great spot.” 

The strides Klubnik has made in his early days at Clemson have to be intriguing for both coaches and fans as his arrival increased the optimism at the quarterback position entering the 2022 season. As a prep senior, the versatile QB threw for 3251 yards with 43 touchdowns and three interceptions.

As the young quarterback continues to grow and embrace his role ahead of the season’s kickoff, Swinney knows he's prepared to play when called upon. 

“I don't think there's any question; he’ll be ready,” Swinney said. “Obviously, mentally, we've come a long way since January.”  

Following the last scrimmage, Swinney said that Klubnik had a case of “purple-jersey syndrome” meaning he takes a bad sack knowing he can’t be hit.

“He had a nice really big play, but then he took a sack,” Swinney said. “Once he gets hit a couple of times, he will get rid of it. So he took a sack in the red zone.”

“He’s a problem in the pocket because he’s really, really fast. It’s awesome because he can really create-- it’s good for Clemson, but it’s also good for our defense to see some speed like that because he can really really run.”
- Dabo Swinney on Cade Klubnik

Despite the progress by Klubnik so far as a Tiger, Swinney made it known incumbent D.J.Uiagalelei will be the starter in week one and that the true freshman is really helping the team-- especially on defense.

“He’s a problem in the pocket because he’s really, really fast. It’s awesome because he can really create-- it’s good for Clemson, but it’s also good for our defense to see some speed like that because he can really, really run,” Swinney said last week.

“D.J.’s the starter for sure. This is where we are. Obviously, he’s got to go play well. We certainly hope to get Cade as much opportunity as we can,” Swinney said. “Just like we wanted to get D.J. in as much as we could Trevor’s last year. D.J. is going to graduate in December, and he’s got big goals and aspirations.”

Klubnik was also asked about Uiagalelei’s role and their relationship during a recent event.

“He’s definitely a really good mentor. D.J. has done nothing right now to not be the starter, and he deserves it 100 percent."

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No Time Wasted: Clemson pours into Klubnik early

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