Some serious questions have been raised about Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei as he comes off a disappointing campaign in 2021.
When asked about his QB's position heading into this coming college football season, head coach Dabo Swinney opened up about his hopes and expectations for Uiagalelei.
“He’s incredibly confident. He's scarred up, he's got some shrapnel on him, he’s been through some battles. Last year was a rough year and he needs to play better, he knows that,” Swinney said in a recent interview with ACC Network. “We weren’t very good around him for a lot of reasons and I’ve never had a young quarterback — a first-year starter — who didn’t make mistakes, never."
After serving as a backup to Trevor Lawrence his freshman season, Uiagalelei entered the 2021 season as a preseason Heisman favorite. With these sky-high expectations, the young QB was criticized far more than the average first-year starter.
"His mistakes were magnified," Swinney added. "You start trying to do too much and you're pressing. This kid's never had criticism. He's never dealt with it. It's been perfect his whole life. Now all of a sudden he's in a skillet here — and it's tough."
Uiagalelei threw for 2,246 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions this past season. His inconsistent play led the Tigers to their first three-loss season and first College Football Playoff miss since 2014-15.
Swinney, Uiagalelei and Clemson will look to bounce back after this uncharacteristic season in 2021.