Five Clemson Football players who could go pro after 2024

Unlike recent years, there aren't many Clemson Tigers who are likely to leave early for the NFL Draft after the 2024 season, but there are a handful who could if all the pieces fall into place for them.
Sep 24, 2022; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA;  Clemson Tigers offensive lineman Blake Miller
Sep 24, 2022; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers offensive lineman Blake Miller / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
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Cade Klubnik

A lot of Clemson fans are looking at Klubnik and wondering how evaluators placed a 5-star rating on him coming out of high school. There is a reason.

When evaluators are placing a rating on a player, they aren’t necessarily prioritizing how quickly they can make an impact for their future (or next) college program. They are looking at players from the perspective of where they can be after 3-4 years of development.

That’s why some ratings can be misleading: many evaluators are basing a player’s worth on where they think they will eventually fit in the NFL Draft. That is why 247Sports has exactlt 32 5-stars in each class for their final rankings: there are 32 first round picks in a draft.

An evaluator might look at Quin Ewers (who was originally in Klubnik’s high school class) as a prospect and note that he was in a much better position to play immediately for a Power program than Klubnik, who weighed 170 pounds soaking wet. That same evaluator could, and did, rate both as 5-star prospects.

While Klubnik’s performance on the field hasn’t backed up the 5-star rating, the reasons he got the rating are all reasons why he could take a step as a junior.

He has the physical tools. He proved that when he beat Ewers and several other prospects at the Elite 11 competition. Klubnik’s problem isn’t physical, it’s judgment. He makes mistakes because he can’t process information quickly enough. He doesn’t absorb all his options and find the open receivers.

That could be a problem that he never recovers from. It also could be something that gradually improves as he gets more experience. After all, Jordan Travis wasn’t a very good quarterback before 2022. Kenny Pickett wasn’t a very good quarterback before 2021. It took years for both to finally reach the point that they were considered elite.

Gradual improvement doesn’t put Klubnik in the 2025 Draft. An improvement in judgment and vision plus improved protection from the offensive line plus healthy wide receivers plus Jake Briningstool being 100% of the pass-catcher that fans have been hoping for? That might do it, but that is a lot.

It’s not something likely to happen but if it did, maybe Klubnik would find himself more valuable after the 2024 season than waiting until after the next season. If you haven’t noticed, there aren’t a lot of quarterbacks that scouts are excited about for the 2025 NFL Draft.