The Clemson spring game is set for Saturday with an Orange-White scrimmage that is meant to bring some balance featuring projected starters on both sides. These kind of spring game setups are always interesting when it comes to position battles, especially when they involve two quarterbacks who end up going head-to-head for the starting job.
Returning starter D.J. Uiagalalei is completing his third spring practice at Clemson, first arriving as a five-star prospect and early-enrollee back in spring 2020. Uiagalelei spent the 2020 season backing up Trevor Lawrence, and two prolific performances in Lawrence’s stead had him positioned as the heir apparent. The 2021 season didn’t pan out as expected for a player figured to be the next face of this Clemson dynasty, however, and the Tigers offense as a whole struggled. So this spring has been spent starting over.
Starting over, or at least building something new, has been the theme of spring practice at Clemson. Dabo Swinney told this year’s team in offseason workouts that the torch has been passed, as the program said goodbye to longtime offensive coordinator Tony Elliott and defensive coordinator Brent Venables. The fallout, from a staffing perspective, was a significant shakeup but mostly with promotions and new roles for coaches who have experience with the program.
The other thing that’s new about this spring is Uiagalelei’s position in the quarterback race. When he arrived as an early-enrollee, there was no question his job was going to be backing up the entrenched starter, but five-star early-enrollee freshman Cade Klubnik has an opportunity to earn the starting nod in 2022.
Klubnik was, like Uiagalelei, a top-10 prospect and the No. 1 quarterback in his recruiting class. He lacks…