His last name is pronounced eww-ee-unnga-lay-lei and he’s the crown jewel of Clemson’s 2020 recruiting class.
DJ Uiagalelei caused Tiger fans nationwide to rejoice by making his commitment known on Sunday, spurning primary competitor Oregon in the process. The 5-star stud from St. John Bosco in Bellflower, California measures in at 6-4, 240 pounds and is the #1 ranked QB in the 2020 class. He is the #13 player overall per the 247Sports Composite despite being criminally underrated by the ESPN scouts. Regardless, due to position, he is the most impactful recruit in this class. His junior year accolades included First Team All-America by Max Preps and USA Today. He was also named Offensive Player of the Year by USA Today.
Brandon Streeter is listed as Uiagalelei’s primary recruiter and deserves credit for reeling in another top quarterback recruit. But, make no mistake, this was a group effort. There were many visits, interactions, and casual conversations that proved Clemson’s authenticity to DJ and his large circle of support. This could be illustrated by the many cross country flights that included Dabo, Brandon Streeter, and Jeff Scott. Or, it could be something as simple as Brent Venables’ extended conversation with the Uiagalelei crew during the first of his five day visit during the Spring game. And that’s not to mention the behind the scenes work of support staffers like Thad Turnispeed and Tyler Clements. The Clemson Family is a real thing, and it’s what drove this year’s most prized recruit from Southern California to Clemson, South Carolina.
Uiagalelei first came to Clemson in June 2018 during Dabo Swinney Camp. That’s where Clemson officially offered him his scholarship. He returned for the South Carolina game to experience the gameday atmosphere and the Tigers strengthened their lead in the recruitment. Then, Clemson was fortunate DJ got a front row seat to the CFP Championship game in Santa Clara to watch the dismantling of Alabama on college football’s biggest stage. The Spring game extended visit completed the inevitable and Clemson got their top target.
Uiagalelei’s arm strength cannot be understated. He can legitimately launch a football 80+ yards (ummm...yea his arm is no joke). But, what makes Uiagalelei special is his ability to combine that arm strength with touch. He can deliver completion after completion to every open window on the football field. He’s also a tested leader, quarterbacking one of the elite football programs in the nation for the past two years in high school. He is also athletic enough to run the read option, throw on the run outside the pocket, and escape pressure - even though he is a natural pocket passer. He’s the best high school quarterback prospect since Trevor Lawrence and was generally regarded as the best high school QB in the country last year regardless of age. Uiagalelei’s toolbox is overflowing, and Clemson will provide him with all the materials to build something great.
Fans and coaches will want to monitor his draft status in baseball. Uiagalelei hurls a 95 MPH fastball and projects as a high round draft pick. He has hinted his intentions to pursue college football in the immediate future, however, millions of guaranteed dollars tend to complicate decisions. He will be a two sport athlete should he forego the MLB and attend Clemson.
DJ’s commitment builds the momentum the Tiger’s have created on the recruiting trail. He frequently communicates on social media with fellow Tiger targets such as Julian Fleming. His California connection also could inspire fellow Golden State recruits Justin Flowe, Daniyel Ngata, or Elias Ricks to make the move east. Clemson’s 2020 class continues to shape up as its best ever.
Watch Uiagalelei’s Hudl film below and celebrate in the comment section!
DJ Uiagalelei is an absolute beast. Don’t let your evaluation of DJ, or any QB going forward, be clouded by Trevor Lawrence. DJ is an elite QB who would’ve been the top QB in the 2019 class as well as the 2020 class. He has a cannon of an arm and can throw it 70 yards easily. He has the arm talent to make all the throws in this offense. He is also developing more touch on the ball so that everything isn’t a rocket.
DJ has excellent pocket presence and is tough to bring down. However, he isn’t a statue and can run and surprise you with his athleticism just like Trevor Lawrence.
DJ was all about Clemson from the jump and when his father visited campus, he also felt like Clemson was the right fit. But this is a family that places faith and family first and wanted to make a collective decision on their time frame, at their pace. DJ visited with his mom and entire family for an extended visit during the Spring game weekend. This helped solidify Clemson’s position. DJ had committed to taking an official visit to Oregon, helping to raise the recruiting profile of Oregon and connecting with coaches. Oregon did a great job of recruiting DJ and his entire family, but Clemson had built too strong a lead coming off the national championship.
DJ has been actively recruiting, but as an official member of the class he will help throw his weight around. Just like Bryan Bresee, DJ is well respected in recruiting circles and his commitment helps push a player like Julian Fleming just a bit closer to Clemson.