His name is hard to spell and pronounce, but it should be easy to remember in the years to come. QB DJ Uiagalelei (6-4 235) of Bellflower, CA became the latest nationally elite quarterback to commit to Clemson Sunday afternoon. He chose the Tigers over Oregon after sifting thru offers from practically every Power 5 program in the country.
Uiagalelei follows the lead of Deshaun Watson, Hunter Johnson and Trevor Lawrence as top-rated quarterbacks to choose the Tigers over the last decade.
Uiagalelei visited Clemson last summer. He returned for the USC game and the spring game in early April. From those visits and meetings with head coach Dabo Swinney and the offensive coaching staff, he got the insight he needed to make an informed decision to go with Clemson.
“I knew for sure, well the time I felt it, was probably when I was out there in June – almost a year ago,” Uiagalelei said. “It was the first time I had been out there. I just felt like this was the place I needed to be. That was when I felt it. I felt like, this is definitely the place for me and this definitely where I want to be. This is where I want to play.”
And a major reason for that was the religious based atmosphere he felt around the program.
“For me, the first time I was out there and being able to see college coaches talk about Jesus Christ, that was huge for me,” he said. “Seeing that, I knew this is the place I wanted to be. The people here talk about Jesus and they’re being open about it. That was a big thing for me because I had never heard that from a coaching staff or coaches before talk about Jesus Christ and just being open about it and showing their faith. I could just feel the Holy Spirit talking to me and telling me this is the place I need to be.”
Uiagalelei said he committed to Dabo Swinney on his last visit. Just to be sure about things, Uiagalelei and his family visited Oregon last month and he was giving the red-carpet treatment by the Ducks. As impressive as that was, it wasn’t enough to turn him from his original feelings for Clemson.
“I was pretty much ‘All In’ – both me and my family,” he said. “I also wanted to make sure that my parents and my brother saw Oregon just kind of to make sure that we were making the right decision, but I already felt like we were making the right decision because I already committed, so it was like I already know what I’m doing. Going back to Oregon, it solidified the decision for Clemson. It just made it that much more clear. It was clear but it just made it super clear, like 20/20 vision.”
Last season Uiagalelei passed for 3361 yards and 48 touchdowns with five interceptions. .
Uiagalelei gives Clemson 14 commitments for the 2020 class and is the Tigers second major pick up of the week following the commitment of RB Demarckus Bowman.