Quarterback Cade Klubnik arrived at Clemson last year ready to embrace whatever role he ended up having. Despite being one of the top quarterbacks in his recruiting class, Klubnik entered college with the mentality that nothing was going to be handed to him.
The former Westlake High School (Austin, Texas) star began the season as the backup to D.J. Uiagalelei and saw his first action in the team’s season opener against Georgia Tech. Klubnik played sparingly the rest of the regular season but replaced Uiagalelei early in December’s ACC championship game and led the Tigers to a 39-10 win over North Carolina.
Klubnik set a championship game record by completing 20 of his 24 passes (83.3%) for 279 yards and a touchdown. He then got his first start against Tennessee in the Orange Bowl, throwing for 320 yards in a 31-14 loss.
With Uiagalelei now at Oregon State, Klubnik enters the 2023 season as Clemson’s undisputed starter.
“I didn’t know if I was going to get to start in three days or if I was going to get to start in three years, so I just continued to keep my head down and just work and just enjoy the process,” he said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in June. “I’m just trying to do the same thing right now. I don’t know when my last day will be playing football, so I’m just enjoying every day of it.”
Klubnik chose Clemson in part because of the faith-based program head coach Dabo Swinney has built. Coming from a family of believers, Klubnik said on the podcast that one of his prayers in the months leading up to his arrival at Clemson was that he would be surrounded by people who helped him grow in his faith.
As soon as he got on campus, Klubnik was invited to Bible studies and Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings.
“The culture that [Swinney’s] built here, it’s unreal,” Klubnik said on the podcast. “It’s truly just based on God, first of all. You won’t walk through our Clemson football facility and meet somebody that just doesn’t make you smile. That’s just the truth.”
Klubnik often includes Bible verses in his captions for Instagram posts as a way to publicly share his faith and demonstrate how important his relationship with God is to him.
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Whenever people point out the hard work that it took for Klubnik to get to the position he is in, he likes to remind them that his willingness to work and passion for the sport had to come from somewhere.
“Somebody’s gotta give you the want-to to put the work in,” he said on the podcast. “I’ve worked my butt off, but [it’s] because I love it. Because God gave me the love for this game, I love going to work. He gave me want-to to go put the work in to get to where I am now. I just feel like I haven’t done much to get where I am.”
The Tigers enter the season at No. 9 in the Associated Press poll and in search of an eighth conference championship in nine years. As grateful as Klubnik is for having an opportunity to lead a team with aspirations of making it back to the College Football Playoff, he knows that anything he accomplishes on the football field will pale in comparison to his relationship with the Lord.
“Nothing in my life will ever compare to how important and how, just, incredible God is in my life,” he said on the podcast. “I’ve been thankful to have just great experiences in the game of football throughout my life so far, but not one of those have come close to the amazing things that God has done in my life.”
The Tigers open the season at Duke on Monday night. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised on ESPN.
– SS PODCAST: Clemson’s Cade Klubnik on growing as football player & follower of Jesus
– No. 1 QB recruit Cade Klubnik set for Clemson after 3rd state title, is ‘playing for God’
– WATCH: Sports Spectrum’s ‘Weekly Slant’ w/ Westlake High School QB Cade Klubnik
– Cade Klubnik picks Clemson, thanks parents for helping him be ‘man of Christ’
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