DJ Uiagalelei is a college football quarterback who plays for the Oregon State Beavers in the Pac-12 Conference. He transferred from Clemson in 2022, where he was the starter for two seasons.
He is one of the nation’s most talented and exciting players, leading the Beavers to a 2-0 start in 2023. But where is Uiagalelei from, and what is the NFL Draft prospect’s origin and background?
What Is DJ Uiagalelei’s Background?
Uiagalelei was born on May 13, 1999, in Ventura, California. He is of Samoan descent, as his parents are first-generation Americans who moved from the Samoan Islands to Hawaii and then to California in 1985.
His full name is David John Uiagalelei, and his surname is pronounced oo-ee-AHNG-guh-luh-LAY.
Uiagalelei grew up in Bellflower, California, where he attended St. John Bosco High School. He was a star quarterback and a four-star recruit who threw for over 10,000 yards and 127 touchdowns in his high school career. He also played baseball as a pitcher and outfielder.
Uiagalelei committed to Clemson University to play college football on May 5, 2019. He signed with them on Dec. 18, 2019, and enrolled at Clemson on Jan. 8, 2020.
He redshirted his first year at Clemson but started two games in 2020 as a freshman, replacing Trevor Lawrence, who tested positive for COVID-19. He threw for over 900 yards and six touchdowns in those two games, including a record-breaking performance against Notre Dame.
Uiagalelei was next in line as Clemson’s starting quarterback in 2021 after Lawrence left for the NFL.
He had a rocky sophomore season, throwing for over 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns, leading the Tigers to a 10-3 record and a Cheez-It Bowl victory over Iowa State. He was named the first-team All-ACC quarterback by the league and by Phil Steele.
Despite improving in his junior year, Clemson was ready to turn the page at the position.
Uiagalelei entered the transfer portal in 2022, deciding to join Oregon State, where his former high school coach Terry Bullock was hired as the new head coach of the Beavers. He was quickly named the starting quarterback for the 2023 season.
In his first game for Oregon State, he completed 24 of 32 passes for 346 yards and five touchdowns in a 52-24 win over Boise State. He has thrown for over 600 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions in his first two games for the Beavers, earning rave reviews from fans and analysts.
Uiagalelei’s Scouting Report
Check out Uiagalelei’s full scouting report here.
- Will have tremendous experience under his belt by the end of his career, playing 35 games at Clemson plus garnering the time he’ll have at Oregon State.
- Massive frame that towers over most teammates besides trench players. He’s difficult to bring down as a rusher and is a red-zone weapon.
- Shows aggressiveness when targeting downfield receivers, keeping defenses on their toes, and unsure as to whether they can afford to stack the box.
- Touch passes in 2020 and 2022 were better than in 2021.
- Allows his receivers to compete for the ball relatively well for a variance passer.
- Brings value as a big-play hunter who can overcome inconsistency to deliver chunk gains in the blink of an eye.
- Strong arm that fires passes into windows.
- Is a statue in the pocket who doesn’t move his feet unless he intends to run downhill to pick up yards. He can be an easy target for defenders who get penetration.
- Struggled with consistent accuracy at Clemson, largely due to his inability to control the amount of touch he puts on the ball. It’s unpredictable whether the pass will be a soft touch attempt or a bullet.
- Shows a long, winding passing motion that starts low and has too much room for error. Shortening this could bring stability to his accuracy.
- More dependent on his supporting cast than he is a creator for the offense, as he’s not a dynamic runner or a reliable enough passer to sustain a consistent offense.
- Has issues leading his receivers upfield, often throwing to where they are rather than where they’re going.
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