Former NFL running back on Uiagalelei: 'Fundamentally, he's got flaws'

Former NFL running back on Uiagalelei: 'Fundamentally, he's got flaws'

Football

Former NFL running back on Uiagalelei: 'Fundamentally, he's got flaws'

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On the Tiki & Tierney show on CBS Sports Network, former Virginia and New York Giants running back Tiki Barber discussed Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei and his performance in the Tigers’ 27-21, double-overtime loss to NC State in Raleigh last Saturday.

“Fundamentally, he’s got flaws,” Barber said. “He stands perfectly still in the pocket, which looks nice when you take a picture of him because he’s enormous — 6-4 and 250 pounds. But mechanically, when you’re trying to throw a ball accurately, it’s not very effective.”

Uiagalelei completed 12-of-26 passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns with one interception against the Wolfpack, with both of his touchdown passes going to Justyn Ross on throws of 32 and 9 yards.

“Watching this game, there were a couple of takeaways from Clemson and in particular from D.J. Uiagalelei,” Barber said. “One, he’s got a cannon for an arm. So, the two touchdown throws that he threw were unbelievable. They were like rockets, they just flew out of his hand. Justyn Ross, I think, caught both of them coming across the back of the end zone. They had to be in tight windows. He knew exactly where he was going with the football, and it was like, wow, that was a throw.”

Barber says Uiagalelei needs time to develop and isn’t like Trevor Lawrence, Deshaun Watson or Tajh Boyd in the sense of being able to step in and be great right off the bat.

“The problem is D.J. needs to develop, and we’ve had this expectation of Clemson quarterbacks just stepping in and being great. He’s not one,” Barber said. “He may be that in a year or two, but right now, he’s not Trevor Lawrence as a true freshman winning a national championship. He’s not Deshaun Watson as a sophomore stepping to the occasion. He’s not Tajh Boyd, who started this whole quarterback dynasty in a sense at Clemson who was a great leader and had a complete understanding of offenses and what defenses were trying to do to you.

“This is the last time we’ll talk about Clemson because they’re not going to win a lot of games this year I don’t think, especially against some of the better ACC teams, and that’s OK because it’s just a changing of the guard. But this expectation that this highly recruited five-star kid out of St. John Bosco out in California was going to be a stud, you’ve got to pump your brakes. He’s the traditional young quarterback in college football. He’s not the exception that just rises to the top immediately.”

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