It had been a longstanding tradition since he was very young for Clemson signee Cade Klubnik to make the trek to San Antonio, Texas to attend the annual All-American Bowl, a national high school all-star game featuring many of the nation's best seniors.
The annual 75-minute drive from his Austin, Texas home to watch the game meant so much to Klubnik that he still has the ticket stub from the first time he went with his father stuck on his home mirror to provide added daily motivation.
He finally got his opportunity Saturday to play for the West team in the Alamodome and put on a dominating performance that has to have a Clemson coaching staff already thrilled with their new player even more giddy.
He had over 60 family members and friends in attendance to watch his elite performance.
Klubnik played four series in the game and threw touchdown passes on his first three possessions before a final drive stalled out at the East's 19-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Any disappointment not going four-for-four was quickly eased when shortly after settling for a field goal he was presented the All-American Bowl Player of the Year live on NBC.
Arizona commit Rayshon Luke was named the game's MVP after rushing for a touchdown and catching a touchdown pass in the West's 34-14 victory.
"Just been such an amazing week with such great players and athletes," Klubnik told the network. "Just to be surrounded by these types of players, but also great people every day. The coaches that are here are just spectacular. They just know the game, but also just spectacular human beings. It's just been so fun." Arizona commit Rayshon Luke was named the game's MVP after rushing for a touchdown and catching a touchdown pass in the West's 34-14 victory.
Klubnik (who played at Westlake, Texas) made the most impressive throw of the game on his team's very first possession. He rolled slightly to his right on third-and-2 before lofting a high, arching perfect 24-yard strike to Southern California commit C.J. Williams in the last bit of available space in the back right corner of the end zone.
On the West's next series, Klubnik faced second-and-8 at his own 23-yard line when he found Ohio State commit Kyion Grayes for a 54-yard completion deep down the left sideline. He finished off the drive by rolling hard right before throwing back to his left for a 22-yard touchdown by Luke.
Klubnik opened up the third quarter with a 40-yard completion to Williams on his first attempt of the second half. He later converted a second-and-7 with a run before rolling right just ahead of two fast closing defenders and floating a five-yard touchdown throw to South Carolina commit Landon Samson.
On his final possession of the game that began late in the third quarter, he improvised his arm angle under heavy pressure and sidearmed a 16-yard wide receiver screen to Samson (his third-consecutive reception). On third-and-15 from his own 25, he completed a 30-yard laser to Jackson State commit Kevin Coleman who dragged his toe right in-bounds at the sideline on the perfectly thrown ball.
Klubnik's day did end with some disappointment when he underthrew an open receiver in the end zone, allowing the defensive back to make up ground on the 19-yard attempt and break it up. Still a fantastic day for the new Tigers' quarterback, who will arrive in Clemson by Sunday.
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Senior Cade Klubnik impresses Clemson coaches at All-American Bowl