NFL.com names Uiagalelei among top 10 Heisman candidates

NFL.com names Uiagalelei among top 10 Heisman candidates

Football

NFL.com names Uiagalelei among top 10 Heisman candidates

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An NFL.com staffer recently published a list of the 10 players that he believes has the best chance to win the 2022 Heisman Trophy.

NFL.com Lead Draft Writer Eric Edholm named Clemson junior quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei as the No. 9 player on his list of the top 10 candidates to take home the Heisman hardware this season.

Here’s what Edholm wrote about why Uiagalelei could win the prestigious award, which of course is presented annually to the most outstanding player in college football:

Uiagalelei seemed to be almost completely written off after his early-season struggles in 2021, and it was understandable. But it’s not as if the former five-star recruit suddenly became untalented. The challenge of replacing Trevor Lawrence (and doing so without many of his best weapons) was too daunting a year ago.

However, this Clemson team — and Uiagalelei, for that matter — is just too gifted for a repeat of 2021 to happen. The QB who produced 781 pass yards, six total TDs and no interceptions in replacing Lawrence against Boston College and Notre Dame in 2020 has shown us he can thrive, and he’s coming off a bounce-back spring performance. The Clemson receiving corps and offensive line should be better, and if the downfield passing game opens back up, the offense could be back to producing regular fireworks.

After bursting onto the scene as a true freshman in 2020, when Uiagalelei threw for 781 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions in two starts against Boston College and Notre Dame, the former five-star prospect struggled in his first full season as the starter in 2021 while completing only 55.6 percent of his passes with more interceptions (10) than touchdown passes (nine).

As for the biggest potential roadblock to Uiagalelei winning the Heisman, Edholm cited the presence of touted true freshman Cade Klubnik pushing Uiagalelei for the Tigers’ starting quarterback job:

Last year was straight-up ugly in a lot of ways, both for Uiagalelei and the Tigers. He finished with a 9:10 TD-INT ratio, and Clemson’s 10-3 record and No. 14 final ranking somehow felt far worse. Why the wheels fell off offensively is anyone’s guess, and now Uiagalelei technically must keep his job, with star recruit Cade Klubnik breathing down his neck.

Come out to support Clemson softball at Dear Old Clemson’s second event which is set for August 27 at the Madren Conference Center.  Clemson returns one of the top teams in the nation and adds some new talent to the mix.   If you sign up for certain club levels you get free access to all Dear Old Clemson events or purchase your tickets today at Dear Old Clemson.

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