Clemson’s 2022 spring game is in the books.

Cade Klubnik led the White team to a 15-7 victory over D.J. Uiagalelei’s Orange squad. Klubnik threw an impressive touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone that proved to be the difference.

However, this was a game that was dominated by the defense. Stars like Xavier Thomas, K.J. Henry and Myles Murphy, amongst others, had no issues disrupting the opposing offense.

Here are 5 takeaways from the game.

Cade Klubnik has a bright future

Cade Klubnik might not win Clemson’s starting quarterback job to open the 2022 season, but he certainly has a bright future. He showed off all the traits that made him the top quarterback in the class of 2022 — accuracy, arm strength and mobility.

Coach Dabo Swinney indicated that he wants to see Klubnik improve physically over the course of the offseason.

“Yeah, he’s gonna be a good one,” Swinney said on the broadcast. “He’s still developing physically … I think by August, he’s physically going to be in good shape.”

Klubnik completed 15-of-23 passes for 106 yards and 1 touchdown.

It was Klubnik’s touchdown pass to Hamp Greene that gave the White team the lead — and eventually, the win.

D.J. Uiagalelei still has a lot to prove

While Klubnik didn’t necessarily dominate, it was hardly an impressive showing for incumbent starter D.J. Uiagalelei. He completed just 16-of-37 passes and threw an interception. He failed to lead the Orange team on any substantial scoring drive — the only 7 points they scored came via a short field off a dropped punt.

Still, Swinney backed Uiagalelei as his starting quarterback after the game.

“DJ’s our starter,” Swinney said. “He’s not done anything to not be our starter.”

However, he’ll presumably have a much shorter leash this season than he did in 2021. Clemson’s lack of a promising backup quarterback last season kept Uiagalelei from losing his job despite a ACC-worst 108.65 passer rating.

This front 7 could be special

Still, this game was completely controlled by the defensive line on both sides of the ball. For the White team, it was Henry who made the biggest difference. He totaled 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup and 1 QB hurry. As a group, the White team had 10 tackles for loss.

Murphy had 4 tackles for loss for the Orange team, including 3 sacks. Toriano Pride Jr. also had 2 tackles for loss. As a team, they combined for 12 tackles for loss and 6 sacks.

Some of this dominance was a product of injuries to Clemson’s offensive line and running backs. But a lot of it was indicative of Clemson’s overall strength in the front 7.

Joseph Ngata and Dacari Collins look like starters

Clemson struggled to find consistent playmakers at receiver all last season. But Nagata had a near-breakout season with 23 catches for 438 yards and Collins posted solid numbers for a true freshman.

That duo, alongside Beaux Collins, could have a much bigger impact in 2022. Clemson will be looking for its first 1,110 yard receiver since Tee Higgins in 2019. Last season, no Clemson receiver totaled even 600 yards for the year.

Ngata made one of the best plays of the day by an offensive player by hauling in this catch on 3rd down:

Phil Mafah can do the job

Clemson was banged up at running back this spring, but Phil Mafah took advantage of his opportunity. By all accounts, Mafah had a great spring. He finished it off with 9 carries for 26 yards and 1 touchdown in the spring game.

Of course, Mafah will likely concede some playing time during the regular season to Will Shipley and Kobe Pace. But Swinney emphasized that the Tigers have full confidence in all three of those backs in any situation — including short yardage and passing downs.

That trio of backs coming back with more experience should give Clemson one of the deepest and most talented backfields in the ACC.