Clemson Football fans have been fooled by one great performance by a quarterback before

Tiger Nation is still buzzing about Trent Pearman's performance in the Spring Game, similar to the way they buzzed about DJU in South Bend and Cade Klubnik in Charlotte.
Clemson quarterback Trent Pearman (14) passes during the Spring football game in Clemson, S.C.
Clemson quarterback Trent Pearman (14) passes during the Spring football game in Clemson, S.C. / Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Clemson Football Spring Game was Trent Pearman’s coming-out party. He easily looked like the best quarterback on that Saturday. He was poised, had good vision, and made good throws.

Pearman’s performance has Clemson fans excited, and rightfully so. He was good. So good that some fans are calling for him to be the starting quarterback over Cade Klubnik.

Let me remind you of a couple of other great performances that convinced us that we had just found Clemson’s next big quarterback.

DJ Uiagalelei threw for 439 yards against Notre Dame in 2020. It is still the third most passing yards in a single game in Clemson program history.

Klubnik led the Tigers to the ACC Championship in 2022 with over 300 yards of total offense and two touchdowns, one through the air and one with his legs.

Both were so underwhelming after those great performances that now, just about four years later, some Clemson fans are ready to crown Pearman the starter after being the best quarterback in a spring game exhibition.

Let that sink in: Tiger Nation fell in love with DJU at the most storied college football program of all time, we fell in love with Cade in the ACC Championship Game, and we fell in love with Pearman in the Spring Game.

If that doesn’t put into perspective how we need to keep our expectations in check, I’m not sure what else will.

I'm not saying that I was immune to this. In the moment, the way Pearman commanded the drive that ended with a beautiful over-the-shoulder touchdown throw to Bryant Wesco was thrilling. It was easily the best part of the day.

Trent Pearman played well, but it was just a single exhibition game

I know some will point out that we also fell in love with Trevor Lawrence in a spring game, which is fair, but I think we have a large enough sample size on both spring game performances and ‘the next big thing’ at quarterback that we should know by now to not get carried away.

What Pearman did in the Spring Game was justify that he should be in competition with Cade Klubnik for the starting job this fall. He also likely did enough to justify that he should be ahead of Chris Vizzina on the depth chart.

Otherwise, we need to do that thing which is so hard for college football fans, myself included: be patient. We know from experience that a single great performance doesn't always indicate what is to come.