D.J. Uiagalelei wrapped up his first spring practice as the Clemson starter with an impressive performance in the Orange and White Game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
The sophomore finished the game 20-for-28 passing for 174 yards and a touchdown as his Orange team fell to the White squad 14-13.
Uiagalelei feels good about the progress he has made over the course of spring ball but knows there is still plenty of room for improvement before the Tigers take the field this fall. His main focus is to grow in his leadership abilities both on and off the field.
“I felt like I had a good spring but there is still a lot I can work on and improve on. I feel like becoming that guy and being a leader is one of the big things I want to do and be more vocal out there,” Uiagalelei said after the game. “I want to run the offense and the team as a better leader and be the best leader that I can be.”
Backup quarterback Taisun Phommachanh exited the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent Achilles Injury. The loss puts the Tigers in an interesting spot with depth at the position before Bubba Chandler, Will Taylor and a preferred walk-on Billy Wiles join the team this summer.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney emphasized the need for Uiagalelei to help acclimate the new quarterbacks to the system and develop them from a leadership perspective.
“D.J. has to have a great summer from a leadership standpoint and really helping us develop these guys,” Swinney said. “A lot of times we can’t be out there this summer so we will be counting on D.J. to help lead in that way as well.“
The sophomore said he is going to enjoy a night off before starting his offseason plan first thing tomorrow.
“The plan starts tomorrow, maybe I’ll keep tonight and just hang out here. But, I’ll start looking at every single rep from the spring all the way up to the spring game,” Uiagalelei said. “I want to fine tune it and dive deep into really every single play to try and get better.”