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Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was named a Heisman favorite prior to the 2021 season, but he didn’t live up to those expectations.
As a sophomore, he finished the season completing 55.6% of his passes for 2,246 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Although he dealt with a plethora of injuries to offense personnel, he was ultimately the signal-caller for a team that finished 11th in the ACC in passing yards per game.
With Uiagalelei’s underwhelming year in the rearview mirror, Brad Crawford of 247Sports believes that Uiagalelei enters his junior season as a potential bounce-back candidate. Here’s what Crawford had to say.
You could argue no player nationally faced the scrutiny of the media spotlight last season more than Clemson’s starting quarterback, who in his first season as the Tigers’ starter post-Trevor Lawrence, struggled throughout and never found his rhythm. Uiagalelei completed 55.6% of his passes for 2,246 yards and nine touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He’s a former 247Sports Composite five-star recruit, who is now being pressed by freshman five-star Cade Klubnik for snaps. Should Dabo Swinney and the Tigers win the ACC after a one-year hiatus and get back to the College Football Playoff, Uiagalelei will be a big reason why.
Klubnik poses a significant threat to Uiagalelei’s potential bounce-back campaign, but if the junior can hold on to his starting role, there is reasonable optimism for an improvement.
Listed at a 250 pounder last season, Uiagalelei said he shed around 25 pounds in the spring. With the weight loss and an offseason to work on his mechanics, he can make a big leap toward becoming a more athletic and consistent signal-caller.
In Clemson’s spring game, Uiagalelei finished with 175 passing yards and one interception on 47.2% passing. He didn’t produce eye-catching numbers in the game, but he had flashes of great touch with the ball, such as this sideline throw to Joseph Ngata.
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) April 15, 2022
As seen in the highlight, Uiagalelei has potential. Now it’s just a question if he can take a giant leap in 2022 and help lead the Tigers back to an ACC Championship.