June 16, 2024

Cade Klubnik didn’t have the best season in 2023–24, but it wasn’t entirely his fault. He is in his second year of playing with Garrett Riley, and he is surrounded by talented people.

One of the more intriguing players in college football for the next season is Cade Klubnik. Why? Because it seems like Clemson is only missing a quarterback to challenge for a College Football Playoff berth and beyond.

In the NFL, you hear that a lot around trade deadlines. “One quarterback away from them.”

However, for the Tigers, it might actually be the case. At the start of spring practice, head coach Dabo Swinney stated unequivocally that he knows who will be the signal-caller in 2024–25. That will be Klubnik, the former five-star prospect who finished the 2022 recruiting cycle second only to Drew Allar of Penn State.

Klubnik has one full year under his belt, and it wasn’t perfect, in fact, not even close. He struggled mightily in the pocket, as well as with recognition and decision-making. The first step to correcting mistakes, though, is accepting them, which Klubnik has done, all offseason.

“I think there’s a lot of things that I’ve kind of looked back on this last season and reevaluated myself,” Klubnik said. “I think one of the biggest things is post-snap recognition. Second year in an offense, I actually haven’t had that yet, so to kind of like, truly be in a system longer than a year, and look back at things that I’ve learned from last year, and all my notes that I took last year, and actually incorporate those into this year, I think that my post-snap recognition is going to get better with decision-making, when to come off of stuff and when I can truly attack things a little bit stronger and stuff like that. Being a little bit more aggressive in my decisions, because I’ve just been in the system now for a little bit. With that just comes quicker reads, so it’s going to make the ball get out of my hand faster, more explosive plays, and ultimately less sacks. So, that’s going to be huge for the whole offense in general.”

There were a lot of factors in the offensive struggles last season, including availability, or unavailability, of weapons and targets downfield.

“For one, I think we battled with a lot of injuries last year at receiver,” Klubnik said. “And so much of the offseason is gaining chemistry, right? […] Guys wouldn’t really be able to practice and they would just kind of get good enough for every game and then end up playing the game, but they really wouldn’t practice. I think that having guys getting those reps throughout the week is going to be huge because we would get to the actual game and it’d be my first time throwing a certain route to a certain guy, like ever, because I haven’t actually repped that with a guy just because he’s been battling through injuries. It’s not my fault, it’s not his fault, it’s nobody’s fault — it’s just kind of the way the cards are dealt sometimes. So, I think just having everybody is going to be really good for us.”

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