CLEMSON, S.C. — When Dabo Swinney was asked if DJ Uiagalelei was still his guy at quarterback, the Clemson head coach did not hesitate with his answer.
“DJ is definitely our starter,” Swinney said. “He has had a great spring. He has not done anything to not be the starter.”
The estimated 35,000 fans who showed up at Memorial Stadium on Saturday to watch the Orange and White Spring Game might disagree. Uiagalelei completed just 17 of 36 passes for 175 yards and was intercepted late in the third quarter by Sherrod Covil, Jr., to set up the game-winning score for the White Squad.
A lot of the fans’ displeasure comes from last year’s performance in which Uiagalelei completed just 55.6 percent of his passes for 2,246 yards. He had just nine touchdowns to go along with 10 interceptions, the lowest overall production from a Clemson quarterback in 11 years.
Swinney is trying to hold off any talk about a quarterback controversy heading into fall camp between Uiagalelei and freshman sensation Cade Klubnik.
“Cade is a really talented player. We got two guys, I think, that can win at a high level, just like when Trevor (Lawrence) and DJ were coming out of the spring,” he said.
Klubnik finished his afternoon by throwing for 106 yards on 15 of 23 passing. Before he even threw his first pass on Saturday, he was met with loud cheers after the public address announcer called his name when the White Team took the field for the first time.
But in Swinney’s mind, there is no quarterback controversy. He says Uiagalelei is the starter, but he likes having two quarterbacks that he can count on.
“It is not often you can say that, but I have seen enough from both of those guys to know that,” Swinney said. “So, it is a good situation.”
The Tigers open the season on Sept. 5 against Georgia Tech in the 2022 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic in Atlanta.