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Cade Klubnik Anointed as Clemson's Future After Replacing DJ Uiagalelei in UNC Win

Erin WalshDecember 4, 2022

Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik runs with the ball in the first half during the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against North Carolina on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman

DJ Uiagalelei's time in Clemson may be coming to an end.

The No. 9 Clemson Tigers took down the No. 23 North Carolina Tar Heels 39-10 in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday, and it was backup true-freshman Cade Klubnik who got the job done after Dabo Swinney opted to bench Uiagalelei.

Klubnik completed 20-of-24 passes for 279 yards and one touchdown in the win. He also rushed for 30 yards and one score on seven carries. He was replaced by Hunter Johnson with under eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and Clemson up 39-10.

Uiagelelei was benched after two empty offensive possessions to open the game. He completed 2-of-5 passes for 10 yards before taking a seat on the bench.

Following Klubnik's outstanding performance, college football Twitter was quick to anoint him Clemson's future at quarterback:

Trent Smallwood @SmallwoodTrent

If Dabo Swinney played to win and had Cade Klubnik on the field all season, Clemson would be in the playoffs and there would be no controversy.

Bill Jones @CBS11BillJones

Cade Klubnik for 2023 Heisman.

Travon Miles @TrayABC11

Cade Klubnik has completely taken over this game.<br><br>My goodness.

Benjamin Bornstein @THE_BOOMSTEIN

Dabo was keeping Cade Klubnik on the bench all season? Thinking DJ might be transferring pretty soon after this game.

Rob Hughes @robhughes_

Cade Klubnik should’ve been playing this entire season. And it was obvious … a long time ago.

Greg Williams @GregWilliams28

What a beauty from Cade Klubnik. Clemson might have found their guy.

Ari Alexander @AriA1exander

Saw Cade Klubnik play in High School and tear up North Shore.<br><br>Between him &amp; Weigman, the freshman Texas kids are going to be at the top of college football the next few years.

Ryan @rdeLo5

Clemson’s a playoff team with Klubnik as the starter. Dabo let his team down this year

St. John Allerdyce @HardenIsTheBest

Clemson makes the CFP if they start Cade Klubnik all year

Mark Thompson @mathomp_501

Clemson is in the playoffs if they started Klubnik all season. No idea what Dabo was doing this season

Jay Wimbrow Β© @jay_wimbrow

Clemson would be undefeated if they started Klubnik all year

Tom Wendell @tomwendell

Cade Klubnik &gt; DJ Uiagalelei by a mile

David Eziomume ✞ @EziomumeDaee

Cade Klubnik πŸ“ˆβ€¦

Klubnik was a five-star prospect out of Austin, Texas, and the top quarterback in the 2022 class, per 247Sports' composite rankings. He was also the sixth-best prospect in the nation.

In addition to receiving an offer from Clemson, Klubnik also received offers from the likes of Texas, Penn State, Michigan, LSU, Georgia and Florida. In June 2021, Klubnik told reporters that Clemson recruited him "harder than anybody when it comes to just staying in good contact and just staying in touch with me and just building a relationship."

He added: "I would say they did the best job of anybody, and they definitely went out of their way to do it. Then once, once they kind of offered me. I just kind of felt in my heart that this is kind of the place I need to be. This is the place I'm feeling called to go."

At this point, it certainly seems like Klubnik is the future at quarterback for Clemson. If so, the Tigers are in good hands for the next few years.