Coming out of high school in 2020, D.J. Uiagalelei was considered one of the top players and the top quarterbacks in the country.
Last year, when Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was forced to sit down due to COVID-19, the then true freshman stepped in and performed amazingly. He rallied the Tigers from 18 points down, while throwing for 342 yards, two touchdowns and running for a third, to beat Boston College.
He topped that performance by throwing for 439 yards and two more scores at Notre Dame the following week. Though Clemson fell short at South Bend, 47-40 in double overtime, Uiagalelei’s 439 passing yards are the most ever given up by an Irish defense in one game.
So with Uiagalelei now taking over at Clemson, expectations for him are high, as he quarterbacks the second most successful college football program in the last decade.
Recently, Pro Football Focus: College Football, ranked who they believe are the top quarterbacks in the country for 2021 and Uiagalelei comes in at No. 8 on their list.
“Uiagalelei was one of Dabo Swinney’s prized recruits of the 2020 class — a five-star who ranked 10th nationally, according to 247Sports,” Anthony Treash writes. “When Trevor Lawrence was out with COVID-19, Uiagalelei impressed in spot starts as a true freshman. He earned an 83.6 passing grade with five big-time throws and zero turnover-worthy plays in those two games against Boston College and Notre Dame. And Uiagalelei showed that he has an absolute rocket-launcher for an arm: We saw a few inaccurate throws that stemmed from mechanical issues, but that is nothing major to worry about. Uiagalelei displayed all the requisite tools to be an elite college quarterback and didn’t look like a true freshman out there being protected by easy throws.”
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