Clemson football and Dabo Swinney endured a disappointing- by their lofty standards- season in 2021, winning 10 games while falling short of the College Football Playoff, a destination they've become familiar with in recent years. Last year's starting quarterback, DJ Uiagalelei, contributed to the underachieving squad, as the former 5-star recruit had a very uneven season.
Heading into the 2022 campaign, Uiagalelei found himself in a battle for the starting job with incoming freshman Cade Klubnik, who Swinney had compared to former Tigers star Deshaun Watson. Swinney announced his 2022 starter, but there's a catch, per JP Priester of Sports Illustrated.
“Swinney also said DJ Uiagalelei is no doubt the starting quarterback, noting he has earned it and it is his job to keep. He added that freshman Cade Klubnik would get opportunities to play.”
Dabo Swinney said that DJ Uiagalelei will be Clemson football's starting quarterback. However, Swinney did say that Cade Klubnik “would get opportunities to play.”
It's great for Uiagalelei that he will be the starter for the Tigers for a second straight year. But Klubnik looked great in fall camp and given the former's struggles last year, it's unlikely that there will be much room for error in year two.
Whether Swinney means that Klubnik will still get opportunities to play even with Uiagalelei as Clemson football's starter or something else, the message is clear.
The team is behind DJ Uiagalelei. He's the starter for Clemson football. But the unspoken part of Dabo Swinney's comments scream that if Uiagalelei has another year like 2021, the team won't hesitate to turn the job over to Cade Klubnik.