The jump from high school to college can be difficult, even for many of the most promising prospects.
Cade Klubnik is currently in the process of making that jump. The freshman quarterback arrived at Clemson in January with as an impressive of a pedigree as you will see.
Klubnik was unbeaten as a starting quarterback at Austin Westlake. He led the Chaps to state titles during his junior and senior seasons, while playing in arguably the toughest high school league in the country.
He won earned MVP honors at the Elite 11 competition. He was named the high school player of the year by both MaxPreps and the All American Bowl. By the end of the 2022 recruiting cycle, he was a 5-star prospect and the top quarterback in the country.
Due to that impressive pedigree, there have been some unrealistic expectations placed on the shoulders of the young quarterback. Some are expecting Klubnik to win the starting job during his first spring, overtaking the incumbent, DJ Uiagalelei, who struggled mightily at times last season.
Barring something unforeseen, that just isn’t going to happen. However, while he may not be battling for a starting spot just yet, he’s absolutely pushing the other quarterbacks, including Uiagalelei.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a battle yet, but of course he’s pushing,” offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter said after the Tigers’ first scrimmage of the spring on Wednesday.
Klubnik is already showing the coaching staff why they recruited him.
“He’s been very, very good,” offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter said after the Tigers’ first scrimmage of the spring on Wednesday. “I mean, it doesn’t surprise me at all. You know, he’s a very smart kid.”
Klubnik wasn’t always a 5-star prospect, though. He really started to shoot up the recruiting rankings after his junior season and so far, he’s living up to those lofty rankings.
“It’s always a big test for these young guys that come in here mid-year,” Streeter said. “And they come in here for a month and a half of school and then all of a sudden, bam, here comes spring practice. So it’s a lot of being overwhelmed early on, but he has handled it very, very well.”
Streeter noted that he’s being given a ton of reps. It’s the best way to learn, but having Uiagalelei means they do not have to rush the young freshman, despite the fact that he’s handling everything they have thrown at him very well.
“So we overloaded him a lot with reps, which is what he needs,” Streeter said. “He needs a ton of reps so that he can go make mistakes, and then we can go and learn from it. And he’s done a really, really good job and that’s what stood out to us.”
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