Dabo Swinney Says Young Tigers Are Stepping Up as Leaders

Cade Klubnik (Jason Priester All Clemson)

The Clemson Tigers are in need of some leaders in 2023, especially on offense. 

Gone is quarterback DJ Uiagalelei. Tight end Davis Allen and left tackle Jordan McFadden are off to the NFL. 

Defensively, KJ Henry, Myles Murphy and Trenton Simpson turned pro. 

Clemson is left with a lot of young players stepping into new roles, but head coach Dabo Swinney has seen several of them on his roster grow into leaders during spring practice. 

Here’s what Swinney had to say about several Tigers following last week’s scrimmage:

QB Cade Klubnik

“Cade Klubnik has been awesome.He’s just a young guy, first year true starter. And I love what I’m seeing out of him, his command, his complete buy-in, his energy every day, his self-awareness and his accountability.” 

WR Antonio Williams

“Seeing a guy like Antonio Williams, for example, I really think he’s starting to respond. Last year he’s a freshman coming in here…I think he’s a guy that’s showing up.”  

RB Phil Mafah

“He’s not necessarily a young guy, but yeah, I think he’s had a great spring and really just his confidence is at an all time high and he just gets kind of he’s playing with swagger and I think the game has really slowed down for him.” 

TE Jake Briningstool

“I think Brininstool who’s been here two years, but you know he’s kind of had Davis out there and it’s been fun to watch him just kind of step up and and really try to be a be one of those leaders.”

LB Wade Woodaz

“Starting to see leadership qualities in that guy. So it’s just really encouraging. We all know a lot of those older guys, but you see some of these younger guys that are really, really stepping up, I’m just really proud of him.”

Freshmen class

“Really all across the board when you see some of these young guys like (defensive tackle) Peter Woods, like (cornerback) Shelton Lewis. Some of these guys that are just showing up, Harris Sewell who just got here, you see good leadership qualities in them as young players. So it’s encouraging.” 

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