Expectations are high for Clemson’s Cade Klubnik.
After serving as the backup to DJ Uiagalelei a season ago, Klubnik is set to take over the role full-time in 2023.
Klubnik is a former 5-star prospect and was the number one quarterback in the 2022 recruiting class, and ESPN’s David Hale has tabbed the rising sophomore as one of the players with the most to prove next year.
He had every opportunity to win the job as a true freshman last season but couldn’t overtake a mediocre DJ Uiagalelei until the ACC title game. Had Klubnik developed a little faster, Clemson might’ve been a playoff team in 2022. Instead, he finally exploded against UNC, then quickly looked like a freshman again in Clemson’s bowl game. After the season, Dabo Swinney fired longtime QB coach (and first-year offensive coordinator) Brandon Streeter and brought in Garrett Riley to ensure Klubnik becomes the next great Clemson passer. There’s no reason to believe it can’t happen — Klubnik certainly has the tools — but with each passing year, the Trevor Lawrence era feels a bit harder to replicate with someone new.
Ironically, another ESPN analyst, Andrea Adelson, chose Uiagalelei as the transfer with the most to prove.
“In my view, the biggest name here is Uiagalelei, who transferred from Clemson to Oregon State. It was only two offseasons ago that Uiagalelei was earning preseason Heisman hype and signing up to be a Dr. Pepper spokesperson, but for myriad reasons, it simply did not work out for him in two years as the Clemson starter. Uiagalelei handled the criticism and disappointments with class and grace, but now this fresh start gives him an opportunity to refocus and reset. Uiagalelei has the same potential and talent coaches saw when he was a highly touted recruit out of California. Perhaps moving outside the national spotlight will help him prove that to the world.”
Clemson and Notre Dame have released depth charts ahead of this weekend’s matchup at Death Valley.
For the second time this season, Clemson will be an underdog at home.
Despite Clemson’s astonishing loss to Miami, the Tigers will head to Raleigh next week favored over NC State.