Five-star Clemson quarterback commit D.J. Uiagalelei led No. 4-ranked St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) to a big season-opening, 35-7 victory over No. 20 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) on Saturday night at Panish Field in Bellflower.
The Clemson Insider caught up with Uiagalelei, the nation’s top-ranked quarterback, about the win, his individual effort and more.
“It felt good, getting the W,” Uiagalelei said. “That’s what you want as a team. You want to get the W, so it felt good just to get the W.”
The game was televised on ESPN2, and while it wasn’t the first time Uiagalelei has played on national TV, he admitted it was still neat to compete in front of audiences across the country.
“It was pretty cool,” he said. “It felt the same, but it’s definitely cool to get to play on ESPN.”
Uiagalelei started the game slowly before settling in and finishing strong. After missing on nine of his first 11 pass attempts, the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder hit on 15 of his next 25 throws, ending the game 17-for-36 for 322 yards and two touchdown passes. He also used his legs to break off a couple of big runs that ultimately led to scores for his team.
Despite those positives, Uiagalelei is far from satisfied and feels his performance left a lot to be desired.
“I didn’t think I played very good,” he said.
Asked what he could have done better, Uiagalelei answered, “Everything, probably. I didn’t think I played very good at all.”
“I didn’t complete most of my passes,” he later added. “Just simple mistakes, like not completing passes and stuff like that. Wasn’t playing catch, it took me a while to get started… Just competing passes, just little stuff.”
At the end of the day, Uiagalelei knows all that matters is St. John Bosco is 1-0, and he has high hopes for the rest of the season.
Bosco entered Saturday’s contest ranked as the fourth-best team in the country according to the USA TODAY High School Sports Super 25 rankings.
“I think the sky’s the limit,” Uiagalelei said of his squad. “We’ve just got to get back at it. I’ve just got to make sure I do my one-eleventh, and we’re going to be fine.”
One of the touchdown passes Uiagalelei threw Saturday was caught by Beaux Collins, one of the top-ranked receivers in the 2021 class who holds an offer from Clemson.
Uiagalelei is looking to visit Clemson with Collins for the game vs. Florida State on Oct. 12, though the trip isn’t set in stone yet.
“Still planning on it,” he said. “I’m not sure yet. I don’t know yet, but that’s definitely in consideration.”
As Uiagalelei goes through his season, he is sure to keep up with Clemson’s season too and believes the Tigers are destined to repeat as champs.
“I think they’re going to win a national championship,” he said.
As a junior last season, Uiagalelei threw for 3,366 yards with 45 touchdown passes.
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