Heading into the 2020 Texas 6A Division I State Championship game between the Southlake Carroll Dragons and the Austin Westlake Chaparrals on Saturday night, Southlake quarterback Quinn Ewers received the vast majority of the game's pregame publicity.
After all, Ewers, who de-committed from the Longhorns in October, was the unanimous No. 1-ranked football recruit in the nation across all of the major platforms.
However, on Saturday night, Ewers was not the best quarterback on the field. Instead, it was Westlake junior Cade Klubnik, who out-dueled the vaunted DFW area recruit, leading the Chaparrals to a 52-34 blowout win over Ewers's Dragons.
Klubnik ended the night completing 18-of-20 passing attempts for 220 yards and one touchdown (a 198.9 quarterback rating by college football standards), while rushing for 97 yards and two more scores on 17 carries.
While not as highly decorated as Ewers in terms of rankings, Klubnik is still a very highly-regarded quarterback, ranking as the 155th recruit in the 2022 class, as well as the sixth-best pro-style quarterback in the country, and the third-ranked quarterback in Texas.
After his performance in the state championship against the higher-rated Ewers, both Klubik's ranking and offer count are likely to see a rise as well.
Before then, however, Klubnik and Ewers, who are both heading into their senior seasons in 2021, could very well faceoff against one another in yet another state championship matchup.
Klubnik, who received his offer from Texas shortly after Ewers dropped the Longhorns in October, looks to be the next great Westlake quarterback to head into the college football ranks, alongside Drew Brees, Nick Foles, and former University of Texas great, Sam Ehlinger. The 6-foot-2, 178-pound junior has also been offered by Georgia, Washington, North Carolina, Auburn, Baylor, and LSU, among others.
“I wasn’t expecting it, but it was something I thought could happen following the de-commitment (of Ewers),” Klubnik told Mike Craven of Hookem.com before the start of the season. “I was pretty excited. It felt like I had a great connection with the Texas coaches for a while, so it was satisfying. I had been waiting for that offer.”
However, despite growing up just a few miles from the 40 Acres, Klubnik did not grow up a Texas fan ... but he has been a major target for the University since his recruitment began.
Ehlinger, of course, is very close with Klubnik, and after recently completing his final year in Austin while rewriting the Texas record books, could play a key role in helping Klubnik make the final decision on his college future, whether he helps steer Klubnik to the Longhorns, or not.
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“Sam is a good friend of mine, and of course I’m coached by Todd Dodge,” Klubnik told Craven. “Those guys are legends, but they’re not going to pressure me at all. They want what is best for me. It is a blessing to lean on those guys because they can answer any question I could come up with in the recruiting process. Coach Dodge has helped a dozen quarterbacks go through this.”
Given Klubnik's history and quick ascension through the college football rankings, however, new Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian could be in a great position to sign the next great Westlake signal-caller as the centerpiece of his 2022 recruiting class.
Either way, Klubnik is exactly where he wants to be, a state champion, with every opportunity to play at the next level.
“It is surreal,” he told Craven. “I grew up dreaming about this stuff and here it is.”