Next step for Uiagalelei is to become elite

Next step for Uiagalelei is to become elite


Next step for Uiagalelei is to become elite


Dabo Swinney wants to see his new quarterback take ownership of the Clemson offense this summer.

With Trevor Lawrence off to the NFL, D.J. Uiagalelei is now the new face of the Tigers’ offense. It is his turn to continue to take Clemson into the future, as others have before him in Tajh Boyd, Deshaun Watson, Kelly Bryant and Lawrence.

Those four quarterbacks won Clemson seven ACC Championships with Watson and Lawrence guiding the Tigers to two national championships, as well.

“He really had a good spring, but we are talking about trying to be elite and helping him reach it,” Swinney said. “He is a very good player, obviously, but helping him become the best version of him.”

Uiagalelei definitely has the potential to be elite. He proved that against Boston College and Notre Dame when he rallied the Tigers from 18 points down to beat the Eagles and then the next week threw for more yards against Notre Dame than any opposing quarterback in the storied history of the proud program.

“We want him to go back through all of his mistakes and really study all the situational stuff. Really assert himself as a leader. That is something he did not have to do last year with Trevor here,” Swinney said. “Really taking that role and giving … He has to lead in skills and drills. We did not really have the proper summer with skills and drills last year, so I am excited about what we have a chance to do these next four months.”

Swinney says he also wants to see Uiagalelei going through all of the Tigers’ scouting reports and studying all of their opponents. He wants him to get a head start on some of that stuff, while also getting his body in the best possible shape he can get it in.

“He does a good job of that,” Swinney said. “He is still a true freshman. His body is nowhere near where it is going to be as he continues to grind in the weight room, with his nutrition and so forth. So, we are really just putting a plan together for him.”

Now Swinney just wants Uiagalelei to execute the plan.

“I can tell you this, with D.J., whatever we tell him, it is going to pale in comparison to what his expectations of himself are. And I love that about him,” Swinney said. “He is a grinder. Again, really, it is about going and leading the group and executing the plan that he has and we got for him this summer and come back ready to go and ready to lead this team.”

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