An ESPN analyst believes Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei is the player that will take home the Heisman Trophy this season.
Marcus Spears, a former NFL defensive end and current ESPN college football and NFL analyst, predicted Uiagalelei to win the Heisman during a discussion on ESPN’s “Get Up!” show.
“What I do know is when he stepped in for Trevor Lawrence last year, he threw for over 400 and scored (three) touchdowns in mop-up duty — not mop-up duty, in a big game that Clemson had,” Spears said, referring to Uiagalelei’s performance at Notre Dame in his second career start on Nov. 7, 2020. “I think this kid is huge.”
Spears added that one thing he thinks gives Uiagalelei an advantage in the Heisman Trophy race is his size in the red zone.
“We all know, in college football, the equivalence of being able to use your legs to score touchdowns matter more than it does in the NFL,” Spears said. “In the NFL, we want to see guys throw for 4,500 and 5,000, have a lot of throwing touchdowns. In college, if you can run for 20 and throw for 30, you usually end up winning the Heisman. I think D.J. is the guy that’s in position to do that more than anybody, and he has a receiver that’s probably is going to win the Biletnikoff in Justyn Ross.”
Uiagalelei enters 2021 following an impressive true freshman campaign in which he completed 78-of-117 passes for 914 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions over 10 games (two starts). The California native also enters this season having recorded 28 carries for 60 yards and four rushing touchdowns.
Uiagalelei was ultra-impressive in two starts last season, when he led Clemson to the largest comeback in Memorial Stadium history in his first career start vs. Boston College on Oct. 31 and a week later, passed for 439 yards at Notre Dame – the most yards ever thrown against the Irish by an opposing quarterback.
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