Clemson got big news Monday when it was reported former quarterback Hunter Johnson was returning to the football program.
Johnson left Clemson and transferred to Northwestern prior to the start of the 2018 season. His return means the Tigers will have three scholarship quarterbacks on their roster heading into the 2022 season.
When he gets back to Clemson, Johnson will likely be behind D.J. Uiagalelei and freshman Cade Klubnik on the depth chart. He is expected to enroll at Clemson this summer.
As for what the Tigers have heading into spring drills, new offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter will have Hunter Helms and Billy Wiles joining Uiagalelei and Klubnik in the quarterbacks’ room.
Streeter has one message for all of his quarterbacks this off-season.
“Just continue to improve,” he said recently.
Clemson fans are hoping Uiagalelei gets better. Last year, the California native did not live up to the expectations he and everyone else set for him in 2021.
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Uiagalelei was the first Clemson quarterback since Cole Stoudt in 2014 to throw more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (9) in a season.
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound quarterback completed just 55.6 percent of his 374 attempts. It was the lowest completion percentage by a Clemson quarterback since Kyle Parker did the same in 2009.
His 2,246 yards were the fewest yards thrown by a quarterback who started every game since Parker threw for 2,213 yards in 2010.
But Streeter does not want Uiagalelei to worry about all of that stuff. He just wants his starting quarterback to continue to improve, which he felt he did in the second half of the season.
“That is what I saw him do, really,” Streeter said. “Just battling through the adversity, like I mentioned earlier, but the improvement and never backing down and to always finding something to get better at.”
With Klubnik now in the mix, how will Uiagalelei respond to having the nation’s top-rated quarterback challenging him for the starting job? That was something he did not have to worry about at all last season.
Also, Helms is a year older and wiser, as is Wiles. And then Johnson comes in this summer.
“I think we are going to have a heck of a team coming back and we have some great guys that we just signed, and we are really excited about those guys coming into the mix,” Streeter said. “That is what spring ball is for, it is kind of, ‘Alright, let’s put the pieces of the puzzle out on the table now and lets kinda put it together one practice at a time.’ Competition is always good. At every position, there is always going to be competition. It makes them all better.
“I’m excited for all three of the quarterbacks that I have and the fourth one coming in, ‘Hey, compete. Get better.’ That is what they have done.”