Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik will be making just his third collegiate start when the Tigers take on Duke in their season opener in December, but that hasn’t stopped him from leading. This spring marked a year since the highly touted high school prospect stepped foot on campus, and according to running back Will Shipley, the young QB has come into his own as a leader of the team.
“Oh, he’s special on and off the field,” Shipley said. “He’s a follower of Christ most importantly and you see that just by being around him, he just shines man. He’s a natural leader and he brings others along with him, which is what makes him such a good leader.”
Klubnik’s play spoke for itself last season when he was handed the reigns of the Tigers’ offense. He started the last two games of the season last year for Clemson, a tall task for a freshman quarterback making his first starts in a team’s conference championship and bowl game.
In those two games, Klubnik led the Tigers to an ACC title win but an Orange Bowl loss, throwing for 599 yards, rushing for 71, and scoring three total touchdowns. And while his play for his age has been impressive, his infectious leadership and energy may be even more.
“And he makes you feel good about yourself you know?” Shipley laughed and said to Next Up’s Adam Breneman. “And that’s a great thing to have about yourself is to not only bring others along, but put a smile on their face while doing it and that’s exactly what he does.”
Klubnik was a five-star prospect out of Westlake high school in Texas, where he was ranked the No. 1 quarterback in the 2022 recruiting class according to On3’s Industry Rankings, a weighted average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies. He has all of the physical tools and makings of a potentially elite college, but it sounds like he may have some of the intangibles as well that could elevate not only his game, but his teammates games as well.
Shipley and Klubnik have the makings to be one of the strongest backfield duos in the country this upcoming season if Klubnik continues to grow and Shipley builds on his phenomenal season from a year ago. Last year Shipley became the first player in ACC history to earn first-team all-conference honors at three different positions (running back, all-purpose and specialist categories) after scoring 15 touchdowns and gaining 1,748 all purpose yards.
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