Clemson’s star quarterback Trevor Lawrence tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t play against Boston College. That means true freshman D.J. Uiagalelei is making his first start of his college career.
D.J. Uiagalelei was a standout player in high school
Uiagalelei had an impressive career playing at St. John Bosco High School in California. As a sophomore, he saw playing time on the field and put together some impressive performances. He ended up taking over the starting position midway through the season, and he never looked back. In his second year of high school, he was the starting quarterback for one of the country’s top high school teams.
He threw for 2,905 yards with 31 touchdowns during his sophomore year and ran for 379 with four touchdowns. After his sophomore year, St. John Bosco knew they had their starting quarterback for the next two years. He led the team to a 13-1 record during his junior season and threw for 3,366 yards with 48 touchdowns.
Uiagalelei had a breakout season during his senior year. Rivals.com ranked him the second-best player in the nation, and he was the top player in California. He led St. John Bosco to a No. 1 ranking by MaxPreps and USA Today after leading them to a 7A state championship game. Throughout his high school career, he threw for over 10,400 yards and had 127 touchdowns. Uiagalelei had offers from many colleges, and he decided that he would play for Clemson.
Taking a look at Uiagalelei’s freshman season so far
As a true freshman, Uiagalelei has already appeared in multiple games for Clemson. With his start against Boston College, he appeared in six of the seven games during the 2020 season. Completing 12-of-19 passes through five games for 102 yards and carrying the ball eight times for 32 yards and scoring two touchdowns, Uiagalelei makes the most of his opportunities.
If Uiagalelei attended any other school, he would probably be the starting quarterback; that’s how talented he is. He was the 247Sports Composite’s No. 10 overall prospect and No. 1 pro-style quarterback for 2020. After Clemson’s victory over The Citadel in September, Uiagalelei talked about how it felt to play as a freshman.
“It was super cool to go out there and just be able to play,” Uiagalelei said in an article from 247Sports.com. “I mean, just to get a lot of bullets and and run drives, just kind of be in the game and get reps — it was super cool.” He will continue to learn and grow as the season progresses and there’s no doubt that he will develop into a top player in college.
Tim Tebow likes what he sees in Uiagalelei
Tebow, a former standout player who succeeded in college, knows a good player when he sees one. “This kid is an absolute freak,” Tebow said Saturday morning on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “He’s 6-foot-5, 250 (pounds). He can run the football probably more effective and power in goal-line situations than Trevor could, but listen — this kid can also sling the football. He wasn’t a five-star and the No. 2 quarterback in the country for no reason.
Tebow is already high on the freshman quarterback, and he likes his game a lot. What I like about him at such a young age is when they put him in the game — and Dabo has prepared him well because he’s had a lot of snaps so far this season,” he said. He’s a five-star that actually has a little bit of experience heading into the situation.”
Clemson will look to Uiagalelei to try and keep them in the College Football Playoff picture with Lawrence out. Once Lawrence leaves for the NFL, Uiagalelei will take over as the top guy for Clemson.