Being a member of the 2022 class, Cade Klubnik’s recruitment was a little different.
Due to the shutdowns during the pandemic, much of Klubnik’s recruitment was done virtually. The former 5-star prospect never even got to take any official visits before his commitment and recently on the Next Up Podcast with Adam Breneman, Klubnik recalled lots of his time being spent in front of a screen.
“It was about a five-month span where, maybe a three-month span where every day it’s a phone call, Zoom, FaceTime with three people every single day. And that was my recruiting process,” Klubnik said. “I didn’t get to go do all these official visits or visit anywhere.”
Klubnik was able to get to Clemson on an unofficial visit for a 2020 game against Syracuse, but wasn’t able to spend any time with the coaches on that visit. Most of what he learned about the school came via Zoom calls with the coaching staff.
The blue-chip talent, out of Austin-Westlake in Texas, committed to the Tigers in March of 2021, and would finally get back to campus in June of that same year, working out at Dabo Swinney’s high school camp.
“I saw Clemson on Zoom and on a video screen,” he said. “But I’d been talking to them for six months, and I knew I wanted to come here. I love Coach Swinney, I love Coach Streeter, I love Coach Elliott, and I knew I wanted to come here. But their rule is we got to see you in person, we need you at camp. And I totally respect that. Now, being here, I see why.”
However, while Klubnik always knew he wanted to play at Clemson, the talented quarterback wasn’t the Tigers’ first choice. Ty Simpson, who would end up committing to Alabama, was the first quarterback to pick up an offer from Clemson in the 2022 class.
Almost immediately after Simpson’s announcement for the Crimson Tide the Tigers would offer Klubnik, and he basically committed on the spot.
“I just didn’t understand at the time,” Klubnik said. “I wasn’t frustrated, but I pretty much told them. I was like, ‘I want to come here.’ But they had offered another guy at the time and they only offer one QB and we kept saying like, well, we’ll wait till it should open everything back up in January and then it should open everything back up in March and then this and that. Everything kept on getting backed up and backed
up. So I never got the opportunity to go up there.”
While the process might not have played out quite like he thought it would, it taught Klubnik some valuable life lessons, including patience.
“And eventually they were like, ‘Alright, let’s do it.’ And I committed right on the spot, and I told coach Swinney I’m coming and let’s get to work. I learned a lot of trust. Just in how to trust God in that moment. And it wasn’t my plan at all, but I knew he was in total control.”
It was that process that also taught the young quarterback about the culture at Clemson. About the kind of players that Swinney targets to play in his program. And it’s that culture that makes playing for the Tigers so special for him.
“Coach Swinney always says they love to recruit character, not like athleticism and the player,” Klubnik said. “They want to get to know you, and they’ll recruit a person over a player any day. So that just showed a lot to me.”
“And even being here, there’s not one person on the team that sticks out. It’s everybody just flowing together, and just everybody gets along. Everybody’s great guys, and there’s just not a guy that doesn’t get along with anybody. And I think that’s what really makes Clemson so special is he really recruits great people and great men and wants to them to graduate. Wants them to go on and have a great career outside of football, and he makes that happen.”
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