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Devy Profile: DJ Uiagalelei, QB | Clemson

Uiagalelei is the number two QB recruit in the 2020 class and headed to Clemson as the prodigy to Trevor Lawrence. @carl_vagleFF breaks down Uiagalelei’s devy outlook.

DJ Uiagalelei is a five-star prospect out of Bellflower, California. He is the second-ranked QB in the 2020 class and the tenth-ranked prospect in the entire 2020 class.

At St. John Bosco DJ was a starter for nearly three years. You can watch him take over as the starter his sophomore year on Netflix’s series QB1: Beyond the Lights. He isn’t the first big-name recruit to come out of St. John Bosco as Josh Rosen is also a former Brave. DJ stole the starting job from three-star Iowa State recruit Re-al Mitchell. 

Uiagalelei had a highly decorated high school career.

  • Named to the Polynesian Bowl roster
  • All-American Bowl roster
  • Polynesian HS player of the year
  • 2018-19 California Gatorade football player of the year
  • Shared the honor of MaxPreps High School Football co-player of the year with Bryce Young
  • Led St. John Bosco to the CIF state title over De La Salle in his final high school game

Source: 247Sports

His stats speak for themselves as he had a tremendous high school career. DJ limited his interceptions this year while adding nearly 1,000 yards in the air. He also had more rushing yards on fewer attempts than the top dual-threat QB, Bryce Young. He also led a come-back in the playoffs when they trailed 28 – 5 to Mater Dei. Here are a few of his verified testing results:

Source: 247Sports

These numbers are from over a year ago now so I would expect most of them have improved. His 40-time is a little scary, but when you watch his film, he plays faster than that time.

DJ has received 30 offers from programs all over the college football landscape, including Alabama, USC, Texas, Georgia, Ohio State, and LSU. He got his first offer in sixth grade from Indiana, but sadly for Hoosier fans, he did not commit there. Instead, he will learn behind Trevor Lawrence in Death Valley.

College Situation

With arguably the best NFL QB prospect starting in Clemson DJ is unlikely to see the field in 2020. However, the future outlook is very bright. Trevor Lawrence should enter the 2021 NFL Draft leaving the QB position up for grabs. Chase Brice would have been his main competition to back up Lawrence in 2020, but he transferred to Duke.

The only other competition will be from 2019 recruit, Taisun Phommachanh. A four-star recruit and the #4 Dual-threat QB in 2019 will have an extra year of learning the playbook. DJ can make up that ground with having enrolled early at Clemson and getting a head-start on the 2020 season. The big difference between DJ and Taisun is that DJ is PRO style QB who likes to utilize his weapons in the passing game and will use his legs when he has to.

DJ utilizes his accuracy and arm strength to take advantage of the receiving weapons similar to how Trevor Lawrence has. While Taisun does have the arm strength, he doesn’t have the power or accuracy that DJ has. That will help put Uiagalelei ahead on the depth chart. I fully expect DJ to win the back-up job this year and be the starting QB in 2021. He is eligible to enter the NFL Draft in 2023.

Strengths

Ability to Extend Plays

In the Army All-American bowl, you can see how the defender has him dead-to-rights. DJ gives him a little wiggle, throws off the defender, sets his feet, and delivers a dime for a TD. Extending plays and thinking on your feet are two important traits for a QB; DJ shows off both here.

In this clip, DJ steps up in the pocket to avoid the sack, shifts to find a passing lane, and finds his receiver for six. Instead of tucking and running, he resets and looks downfield. Instead of a five-yard rush, he has a 50-yard TD.

Accuracy & Arm Strength

One of the big things that puts DJ at the top of this QB class is his accuracy. Here he puts a deep pass where only his receiver can get it. He has pressure coming at him and steps up in the pocket and delivers a dime. You also notice how effortless it looks for him throwing the ball 40 yards downfield.

Another example of Uiagalelei’s accuracy as he hits his receiver in stride down the sideline with a defender right on him. Perfect placement against the #1 team in California, Mater Dei.

DJ sends the ball on a rope to his receiver in the back of the end zone. He uses his arm strength to get it there before the receiver is out of bounds, accuracy to drop it right in the receiver’s arms.

Uiagalelei shows off his arm strength launching the ball 45 yards to his receiver on the sideline. DJ has shown a knack for being able to hit his outside receivers with both power and accuracy. Sadly the receiver loses balance, and he doesn’t get a touchdown on this toss.

DJ’s arm is no joke; this is him throwing the ball over 70 yards. Just don’t start making JaMarcus Russell comparisons, please.

Mobility

If the defense wants to drop in coverage, DJ isn’t afraid to take off and run. Or, in this case, if they blitz and leave the middle open, he will take advantage of the opening and not think twice. The ability to make decisions quickly as a QB is very important, DJ showcases that here.

Conclusion

DJ Uiagalelei is known for his arm strength and his size at the QB position. DJ is a presence behind center at 6’4” and 246 lbs, and he gets his size from his father, a 400-pound former celebrity bodyguard. However, Uiagalelei provides so much more at the quarterback position. 

When you look at DJ, he doesn’t look like your typical freshman QB; he looks like a grown man. He reminds me of Donovan McNabb in the prime of his career. Uiagalelei has accuracy, a high IQ, and the arm strength to sling the rock over 80 yards. DJ is a great athlete as well who can use his legs when he needs to.

His athleticism shows not only on the football field but also on the diamond. Uiagalelei tops out at 95 mph on the mound and wants to continue to play both sports in college. He should be drafted in this year’s MLB draft but not expected to sign. We have seen the recent success story of Kyler Murray playing both sports, and DJ has a chance to do the same.

Uiagalelei does not project to start right away as the best college quarterback in the nation is the incumbent, Trevor Lawrence. With Lawrence expected to enter the draft after next season, DJ has an excellent opportunity to become the next Clemson starting quarterback. He also projects as a top-10 NFL draft pick, and his first year of eligibility is in 2023.

According to Devy Watch ADP DJ currently projects at 36th overall. So you can look to grab him at the end of the 3rd and early 4th round. I am presently in a Campus to Canton (C2C) draft and picked him at 3.03 (27th overall) since I knew he wouldn’t make the turn. It helped that Bryce Young was taken at 3.02 as these two always seem to go around the same time.

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