D.J. Uiagalelei had never really heard of Clemson and did not know much about the program as a youngster growing up in California, but that changed one Saturday when he watched former Tiger quarterback Tajh Boyd sling the rock around to his star wide receivers on national TV.
Uiagalelei met with the media Monday and told reporters that was his first memory of Clemson and the point in time when he took a liking to the Tigers and their offense as well as their uniforms and tradition.
“I was younger, I was maybe middle school,” Uiagalelei recalled. “But I remember one play, they just threw like a bomb. I saw them on ESPN just throwing bombs, like boom, boom, boom. I’m like, ‘Man, this is the type of offense I want to play in. I just want to throw the ball deep.’ So, that was the first memory.
“I liked the orange jerseys they had on. That’s a cool color. I’m like, ‘Orange? You don’t really see orange and purple, but that’s pretty dope.’ You saw the hill, that’s pretty dope. That was the first memory for me, just seeing Tajh Boyd throwing bombs away to Sammy Watkins, Deandre Hopkins. I just saw bombs being thrown and I was like, ‘Shoot, this is the school I want to be at. I want to throw the ball deep.’”
Uiagalelei later received the opportunity to play at Clemson when the Tigers offered him a scholarship as a rising high school junior in the summer of 2018.
The former five-star prospect eventually committed to the Tigers in May 2019 over Oregon and more than 30 other offers from major programs across the country, and he enrolled at Clemson this past January.
Transitioning from California to the state of South Carolina has taken some getting used to for Uiagalelei, but he has enjoyed his experience at Clemson thus far, and being a Tiger is everything he thought it would be during the recruiting process.
“I feel like life at Clemson’s been great,” he said. “It’s everything I wanted. Being able to choose Clemson, everything they told me it was going to be about, it’s been everything they told me about. So, it’s been a great adjustment coming from the West Coast coming to the East Coast. It’s not been too hard, but there’s a lot of change here coming into South Carolina. Things are a lot different than coming from Southern California. Change of pace is different. I feel like there’s a lot nicer people here in South Carolina, so that’s pretty cool. But I feel it’s been a great experience, so I’ve just been trying to soak it all up.”
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