DJ Uiagalelei Still Clemson Starting QB Despite Cade Klubnik's Play vs. Georgia Tech

Adam WellsSeptember 6, 2022

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney isn't going to make a change at quarterback right now.

Swinney told reporters that DJ Uiagalelei is the starter but freshman Cade Klubnik will get "as many opportunities as" possible to play after leading an impressive touchdown drive late in the Tigers' 41-10 victory over Georgia Tech

Despite the final score, Clemson's offense with Uiagalelei under center looked erratic. It started the game with four consecutive non-scoring drives (three punts and a lost fumble).

The Tigers' first touchdown drive only took five yards after Carson Donnelly blocked a punt and recovered it deep in Georgia Tech territory.

After the Yellow Jackets missed a field goal on their next possession, Uiagalelei put together his best drive of the first half. He accounted for 65 of the team's 67 yards and capped it off with a six-yard touchdown pass to Beaux Collins.

Uiagalelei finished the game 19-of-32 for 209 yards and two touchdowns (one rushing). Expectations have been high for the California native since he committed to Clemson prior to the 2020 season. He was a 5-star prospect and No. 1 pro-style quarterback recruit coming out of high school, per 247Sports' composite rankings.

Since replacing Trevor Lawrence as the starter last year, however, Uiagalelei has failed to impress. He completed 55.6 percent of his passes for 2,246 yards with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 13 games in 2021.

Klubnik also faces sky-high expectations in his first season at Clemson. He was a 5-star prospect and the No. 6 overall player in the 2022 recruiting class, per 247Sports' composite rankings.

In his first exposure at the college level, Klubnik went 4-of-6 for 50 yards and a touchdown on Clemson's final offensive possession against Georgia Tech.

It's hard to take much from what Klubnik did late in the fourth quarter of a blowout, but the lack of progress from Uiagalelei based on his performance leaves the door open for a change if he continues to struggle.


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