We've broken down the status of each position on the Clemson football team every week until game week, check out the rest of the articles on our site.
By Morgan Thomas
Position Coach: Brandon Streeter
Brandon Streeter finally gets his chance to call the shots for the Clemson offense in 2022. Many will remember Streeter as a starting quarterback for Clemson from 1998-1999. While he wasn't the star quarterback that Clemson has been used to having over the last decade, Streeter has made a name for himself as both an elite quarterback coach and offensive coordinator. During his time at Liberty University, he helped the Flames lead the Big South Conference to win the Big South Conference title while averaging 36.5 points per game and in 2011, Liberty led the conference in passing yards and efficiency. While at Richmond University, he guided the Spiders to a top-20 finish passing offense each season from 2012-14. That included a 314-yard average, eighth-best in the nation, in 2014. The Spiders also averaged 461 yards per game, 19th-most in the nation, and were second in third-down conversion percentage (51.6) and third in first downs (332).
Streeter is now entering his 15th full season at Clemson overall. He returned to the Tigers in 2014 as the recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He will continue to coach the quarterbacks this season while also adding in the responsibility of offensive coordinator. Streeter has worked his way up the ranks in the college football coaching world since becoming part of the Clemson staff. He has had the opportunity to recruit and coach elite talent at the position. Among the most notable names are Trevor Lawrence, Kelly Bryant and Deshaun Watson.
Entering the 2022 season, Streeter may have the biggest challenge yet. He is tasked with correcting the mistakes made last season at the quarterback position, while at the same time, molding the offense to fit his style of play calling.
Who is the starter?
Junior - DJ Uiagalelei
Putting last year behind us, let's talk about what we have seen since the spring. We know that DJ Uiagalelei has made a very intentional effort to lose weight and get in better shape this season. He has been successful in his personal goal of losing 30 pounds before the fall. The junior from California now weighs in around 232-235 depending on the day. He might even be under 230 considering the amount of practice the players undergo during fall camp. Uiagalelei looks more athletic and he is more agile in the pocket. This fall we have seen him make plays with his legs and the hope is that he will continue to do so when the purple jersey is removed.
Uiagalelei has also spent time in Dallas over the spring working out at 3DQB to help improve his mechanics. The expert trainers there confirmed he has the tools and the strong arm to be successful. It will be up to DJ to take what he has learned and build on it this season.
Who is the rising star?
True Freshman - Cade Klubnik
The Gatorade Player of the Year in Texas is on campus and many fans are eager to see what he can do for the Clemson offense in 2022. In his time at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas Klubnik became the first quarterback to go undefeated as a starter while winning back-to-back state titles in Texas’ highest classification since Allen High School's Kyler Murray.
Klubnik is lean, athletic and super fast. His speed is very shocking when you first witness it. In a designed rollout play this fall, I saw him roll out to his right so fast that he was nearly out of bounds before the play had time to develop. That's a good and a bad thing. As with any true freshman, Klubnik will need to get a feel of the speed of the game and in practice, with a purple jersey on, he has not had the full experience yet. On a positive note, he has the kind of speed that kills Nick Saban-type teams. Even Clemson's defensive unit has a difficult time containing him in the pocket. It is clear that Klubnik is pushing DJ Uiagalelei for playing time. A situation that I believe will benefit both players in the long run.
Best of the rest?
Graduate Transfer - Hunter Johnson
The former 5-star recruit has returned for his final year. The Tigers now have three quarterbacks who were rated as a 5-star recruit on their roster. While Johnson hasn't had the success many felt he would, he brings a much-needed veteran presence to the quarterback room. Johnson isn't just a coach in waiting, he is the 3rd string quarterback and is fighting for playing time along with the rest of the group.
What will make 2022 a success?
With all the issues the offense had to face last season, the quarterback position takes most of the blame. Receivers rarely got open but when they did, often the pass was uncatchable. The offensive line was a patchwork group outside of the tackle position and that added to the frustrations all around. Dabo Swinney has done what he needs to do to change up the group. The Tigers have a veteran, they have a freshman 5-star and they have a returning starter who has put in work to improve this offseason. It's time to see what happens.
DJ Uiagalelei must be in the top 100 for QB rating in 2022. No excuse. DJ Uiagalelei must be in the top 100 for completion percentage. Also, no excuse. That means on average he needs to be above 123.8 and 58.7% respectively. Speaking just on numbers, these are the minimum results that I believe are needed to have a statistical measurement for improvement at the quarterback position. If we see multiple games where DJ Uiagalelei's rating is below those marks, it will be an indicator that 2022 could be another difficult year for the Clemson offense.
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