Dabo Swinney makes definitive statement about Clemson’s starting QB

Dabo Swinney, Clemson Tigers. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Dabo Swinney, Clemson Tigers. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Dabo Swinney remains adamant that D.J. Uiagalelei will remain Clemson’s starting quarterback.

Even though he was not outstanding in Clemson’s Orange and White Spring Game last Saturday, head coach Dabo Swinney believes D.J. Uiagalelei did enough to remain the Tigers’ starting quarterback heading into fall camp.

“D.J. [Uiagalelei] is definitely our starter,” said Swinney after the Orange and White Spring Game. “He has had a great spring. He has not done anything to not be the starter. Cade [Klubnik] is a really talented player. We got two guys, I think, that can win at a high level, just like when Trevor [Lawrence] and D.J. were coming out of the spring.”

Uiagalelei completed 17-of-36 passes for 175 yards and an interception. His biggest challenger in freshman Cade Klubnik completed 15-of-23 passes for 106 yards in the low-scoring intrasquad scrimmage. While Uiagalelei does not have a firm grasp of the starting job after how much he struggled in his second year with the program, he seems to have the leg up on Klubnik currently.

What can we glean from Swinney’s comments about Uiagalelei firmly being the Tigers’ starter?

Dabo Swinney says D.J. Uiagalelei will remain the Clemson starting quarterback

In no way, shape or form does it serve Swinney or the Clemson program for that matter to say anything other than Uiagalelei will be the Tigers’ starter heading into this season. He may have outplayed Klubnik throughout spring practice, but the last thing Swinney will want is for the former five-star prospect coming out of high school to hit the transfer portal before fall camp.

As for Klubnik, the prized recruit of Clemson’s most recent class has all the talent to potentially overtake Uiagalelei if he continues to struggle. Not to say it will be all that much of a competition entering fall camp, but the players know what they see in practice. Klubnik committed to Clemson almost certainly knowing he would back up Uiagalelei for a year. Anything else is just pure gravy.

As for Uiagalelei, he needs to continue to build on a mostly positive spring to finally have that season the Clemson faithful are expecting out of him. The Tigers should win the ACC Atlantic after a down season. Though the conference is down as a whole, anything short of a New Year’s Six Bowl game appearance will not be acceptable for the Tigers. The quarterback play has to be improved.

Swinney throwing support in Uiagalelei’s favor is expected, but Klubnik is not fading away either.

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