What is Clemson’s safety QB? Meet DJ Uiagalelei, Trevor Lawrence’s co-star after the COVID-19 test


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Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Saturday’s game against Boston College.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney confirmed the news Thursday night with a statement:

ACC players who test positive for COVID-19 are required to self-isolate for 10 days, so it is possible that Lawrence could miss the Nov. 7 matchup with No. 4 Notre Dame.

Clemson will now become the first year of five-star DJ Uiagalelei as a beginner. Here’s what you need to know about the Tigers ’starting quarterback:

NO LONGER: How long does Trevor Lawrence last with COVID-19?

Clemson football QB depth chart

  • Trevor Lawrence (junior)
  • DJ Uiagalelei (matricula)
  • Taisun Phommachanh (registration number – red shirt)
  • James Talton (matriculation)
  • Hunter Helms (matriculation)

Who is Trevor Lawrence’s safety QB?

DJ Uiagalelei was No. 10 in the overall standings in the 2020 class and the pro-ranked style quarterback, according to 247 Compound classification of sport. The 6-5, 245-pound quarterback played for St. John’s perennial powerhouse. John Bosco in Bellflower, Calif.

He finished his career in high school with 127 touchdown passes and just 11 interceptions. This includes the 2019 California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division 1 championship game, in which Uiagalelei led St. John Bosco to a 39-34 victory over Mater Dei and future Alabama signing Bryce Young.

Uiagalelei completed Tide’s inning, throwing for 444 yards and five touchdowns without interception. John – the No. 2 general player and first-ranked quarterback in the class – throwing for 405 yards and five touchdowns, but also a three-interception season. He also lost a fumble on a late sack to seal the loss.

Uiagalelei also led his team from a 28-5 deficit.

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DJ Uiagalelei is part of Clemson’s loaded recruiting class

Uiagalelei has been part of Swinney’s highest recruiting class since taking the post at Clemson. The Tigers have landed five recruits with five-star ratings, though Demarkcus Bowman has already moved to Florida.

Defensive liners Myles Murphy and Bryan Breese have already made an impact as early as last year, combining for 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. Linebacker Trenton Simpson also saw the weather.

Uiagalelei’s highlights are good so far

Uiagalelei saw action in five of Clemson’s six games that sparked Lawrence. He’s 12 of 19 passing for 102 yards but hasn’t even launched a touchdown.

He’s also a factor in the rushing attack: He has eight carries for 32 yards and two touchdowns.

NO LONGER: Lawrence with no commission on plans for the 2021 NFL Draft

Uiagalelei could start against Notre Dame

Uiagalelei will receive the sign against Boston College, a game where the Tigers were 31 favorite points. This line should go down, but Clemson’s offense doesn’t need to change much around matriculation talent.

Uiagalelei is still in control of a busy team featuring current Travis Etienne, who has an average of 6.3 yards per carry.

The real test could come on November 7 against the No. 4 Notre Dame – if Lawrence is unable to play. Uiagalelei would have made his first road trip against a legitimate candidate in the Football College Playoff.

Who knows from here?

Remember when Lawrence took over from Kelly Bryant in 2018? He led Clemson to a 44-16 victory against Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game.

Given that Lawrence is scheduled to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, it’s not certain – even if it’s likely – that he will return when he is available to return.

Uiagalelei is a talented first-year student, but the fact that his time has come this soon is another unexpected twist in a college football season that continues to be influenced by COVID-19.


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