How do you rank the 25 most important players on a squad’s roster?
It is not easy. However, I rank them based on their past performance, experience and who is behind them on the depth chart, as well as their level of talent.
Here is my ranking of the 25 most important players on Clemson’s 2020 football roster. We start with No. 25.
No. 25: D.J. Uiagalelei
Bio: Was the National Player of the Year and an All-American by USA TODAY. He was rated as the nation’s No. 2 overall player and No. 1 quarterback by Rivals.com He threw for 10,496 yards in high school, including 127 touchdown passes to just 11 interceptions. Uiagalelei averaged 18 yards per completion, while completing 66 percent of his passes. He also ran for 1,103 yards and scored 18 touchdowns. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry. In last year’s state championship game, Uiagalelei completed 24-of-29 passes for 410 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for 67 yards and another touchdown on five carries. He led St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, Calif.) to a 13-1 record and a state title. In the state semifinals, they avenged their lone loss of the season by beating the nation’s top-ranked team Mater Dei. Uiagalelei led his team back from a 28-5 deficit to beat Mater Dei. The Clemson quarterback threw for 446 yards and five touchdowns in the game, while completing 26-of-38 passes. He finished the 2019 season with 4,225 yards and 48 touchdowns against two interceptions.
Why No. 25: Uiagalelei might be a true freshman, but he is extremely important to the Tigers this season. He is likely the heir apparent to replace Trevor Lawrence next season. The freshman participated in the Tigers’ nine spring practice and was challenging Phommachanh for the backup position. The Clemson coaches also want to have him ready to play in case of an emergency. Look for him to get a lot of playing time if the Tigers get on top of the opposition like many expect them to this season.
They said it: “D.J. is, he is just an unbelievable talent. He is just unbelievable. To see a guy that big, he sometimes makes Trevor, and we all know what type of arm Trevor has, and sometimes he makes Trevor just kind of look normal with his ability to just rip that football. It is unbelievable. It really is, and then, oh by the way, he is 6-5, 245 pounds and can move.” –Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney
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