After leading the Austin Westlake Chaparrals to their second-straight 6A state championship this past season, and out-dueling former Longhorn commitment Quinn Ewers, Cade Klubnik emerged as one of the hottest quarterback prospects in the 2022 class.
"It’s awesome. It’s everything I’ve kind of dreamed of," Klubnik told Longhornscountry.com in an exclusive interview.
And with schools like Texas, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Penn State, and many more chasing him, there was no shortage of elite suitors for his signature.
The Longhorns and new head coach Steve Sarkisian, in particular, would have loved to keep the local Austin talent home, but it was too little too late, as Klubnik would eventually settle on Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers, where is set to become the latest in a recent run of elite quarterbacks.
"It’s just so fun,” Klubnik said. “You know, I don’t feel higher than anybody else, but it’s just super fun knowing that I’m going to get to go play there one day.”
While exciting, recruiting is always an exhausting process, especially for someone like Klubnik, who was constantly having to field communication from dozens of teams and countless media contingents on a regular basis.
And for Klubnik, the feeling of finally being finished with that process is one of relief.
“It’s such a relief. Probably like the month before I committed, I was getting calls all the time, like in the middle of the day. It was so much,” Klubnik said. “It wasn’t messing up my life, but it was definitely super nice because I knew where I wanted to go, and it was super nice just to finally pull the trigger.”
That trigger has indeed been pulled, with Klubnik has made it known to anyone else who might be interested, including the Longhorns, that his recruiting process is over.
"I’m done," Klubnik said. "I’m not going anywhere else. I told them I was done."
The prestige and recent success of Clemson speaks for itself. Dabo Swinney has turned Death Valley into a quarterback and an NFL factory since taking over the program in 2008, winning two national championships and seven ACC titles along the way.
But for the latest 6A Division 1 state title Offensive MVP and Elite 11 Finals invitee, his pledge to Clemson was about more than just the success and the hardware.
"They’ve got everything," Klubnik said of the program. "The moment you step on campus it just feels like family. I haven’t even shaken the coaches' hands yet and I feel like I know them. First of all, they’re just themselves on the phone, they’re themselves over everything. Every person that you’ll meet there is just the most sincere, nicest person you’ve ever met, and you just feel at home there. The culture there is just amazing. There is not a lot of schools like that, but at the same time, they’re also they’re the No. 1 and No. 2 rated football team in the country every year, so to have both of those aspects is pretty special.'
With his future now set, Klubnik looks forward to his final year with the Chaparrals, where he hopes to become the first in a long line of elite quarterbacks, including Drew Brees, Nick Foles, and Sam Ehlinger, to win back-to-back state titles as a starter.
And beyond that, follow in the on-field success of a long line of Clemson stars, where he will be in a unique position to handle that kind of expectation.
"I want to win a district championship, win another state championship," Klubnik said. "But just kind of develop myself the most I possibly can for my team and to go be good in college. This team that we’re building right now, we want to be remembered. But farther on, get the starting job (at Clemson) and win a couple of national championships."
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