DJ Uiagalelei vs. Boston College

Quarterback DJ Uiagalalei prepares to take on Boston College in Memorial Stadium on Oct. 2, 2021.

With all eyes on the battle between freshman quarterback Cade Klubnik and sophomore quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter said on Wednesday that the starter will have to earn his spot.

Uiagalelei has been the number one quarterback on the Tigers’ depth chart this spring, while Klubnik has continued to impress coaches. Still, Streeter reaffirmed that the entire quarterback room is feeding off of each other. 

“I wouldn’t say it’s a battle yet, but of course [Klubnik] is pushing him,” Streeter said of a potential quarterback competition. “I think all four of the quarterbacks that are taking reps are pushing each other.”

There may not be an official battle between the two yet, but Streeter also was non-committal on anyone being thrust into a starting role because of his past.

“There’s no automatic starter,” he said. “That’s not how it works, that’s not what our program is about. Our program is about earning it and what’s happened in the past, you got to re-earn.”

Klubnik, who came into spring practice fourth in the depth chart, will have to earn his spot on the team just like everyone else, but his five-star rating in high school seems to be representative of what Streeter expected.

“He’s been very, very good,” he said. “It doesn’t surprise me at all. He’s a very smart kid. It’s always a big test for these young guys that come in here mid-year. They come in here for a month and a half of school, and then all of a sudden, bam, here comes spring practice. So, it’s a lot of being overwhelmed early on, and he has handled it very, very well.”

With Klubnik’s lack of repetitions and experience, Streeter emphasized that his footwork is the biggest thing he needs to work on heading into the fall.

Meanwhile, Streeter echoed head coach Dabo Swinney’s sentiments about Uiagalelei and his attitude and approach towards next season. 

“[Uiagalelei] has done an incredible job between the bowl game and spring ball,” he said. “[He’s] getting his body right, getting his mind right and going to work. I’m really, really proud of him for doing that.”

After losing significant weight, the sophomore quarterback said on March 4 that last season was a “blessing in disguise.”

The spring game is set for April 9, which is when fans will have their first glimpse of the quarterback battle that could ramp up as the season approaches.

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