The first time D.J. Uiagalelei stepped foot on Clemson’s campus as a rising high school junior in the summer of 2018, he was impressed by a lot of different things, including the culture, the people and the coaches there.
But what really resonated with Uiagalelei, and the main reason he fell in love with the Tigers in the first place, was the willingness of the coaching staff to talk honestly about their Christian faith.
“I remember when I first came to Clemson, the biggest thing for me that stood out was that the coaches here, they openly talked about their faith in Jesus Christ,” Uiagalelei said recently. “That was a huge thing for me, to be able to hear coaches openly talk about that, and it was really genuine.”
Uiagalelei could tell the coaches truly meant what they said when discussing their faith, and it played a major role in the star quarterback’s decision to eventually commit to Clemson in May 2019.
“You knew that they weren’t just saying that because they just said that, but they were really genuine about their faith,” he said. “So for me, I never heard any coaches talk openly about their faith, and that was the biggest thing for me.”
Uiagalelei, now a rising sophomore at Clemson preparing to take over for Trevor Lawrence as the starting quarterback, knew right away after his first experience in Tigertown that it was where he felt God was calling him to come.
“I could just feel the holy spirit telling me this is where he wants me to be,” he said. “I remember telling my mom that night, I was like, ‘Yeah, I know I’m going to come to Clemson. I feel like this is definitely where God wants me to be at.’”
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