There was plenty of excitement entering the season about D.J. Uiagalelei as Clemson‘s full-time starting quarterback. The former five-star signal caller looked very good filling in for Trevor Lawrence during the 2020 season.
Uiagalelei didn’t quite bring Lawrence-level hype with him to Clemson, but it wasn’t super far off. Add in the fact that he’s a physical specimen with a rocket arm, and many believed he’d have the Tigers roll to another ACC title, and with good reason.
Instead, a month into the college football season Clemson is 2-2, after today’s loss to NC State. The fact that the Tigers managed three touchdowns on offense was both notable, given the team’s struggles against Georgia and Georgia Tech. Uiagalelei was far below the level that Clemson needs from its quarterback.
After the game, Dabo Swinney was asked about the quarterback job. He’s not willing to create a controversy at this point, but it’s not an unfair question given how stagnant the offense has been.
Dabo Swinney: "This point at 2-2 you look at everything. There’s nothing that you don’t evaluate. But I think DJ is our quarterback."
— Grace Raynor (@gmraynor) September 26, 2021
“I thought DJ gave us a chance to win the game,” he added, via TigerNet. “He’s got a great, great future…Certainly there are things he has to get better at as well.”
On the day, he completed just 12-of-26 passes for 111 yards—a very poor 4.3 yards per attempt—with two touchdowns and an interception. He was able to run for 63 yards, aiding a team that managed 103 yards on 23 rushes, but NC State outgained Clemson 386 yards to 214 in the overtime game.
On the year, Uiagalelei has completed 63-of-112 passes (56.3-percent) for 586 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.
Taisun Phommachanh is listed as the backup to Uiagalelei on the Clemson depth chart, followed by Hunter Helms. Phommachanh was 7-for-10 for 75 yards with a touchdown and interception in the Tigers’ 49-3 win over South Carolina State. Helms went 2-for-5 for 16 yards in that game.