Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei set to move to Oregon State in career restart bid, report says

Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei transferred to Oregon State as five-star prospect tries to reset his career

DJ Uiagalelei spins in Clemson orange and purple for Oregon State orange and black. Uiagalelei signed on Saturday to join the Beavers out of the transfer gate for the 2023 season after a career that didn’t go to plan with the Tigers.

Uiagalelei, a five-star prospect in the Class of 2020, was benched for Cade Klubnik in Clemson’s win in the ACC Championship game against North Carolina. He entered the transfer portal two days later. This after Uiagalelei was taken out for a number of games throughout the season as Clemson’s attack constantly struggled to find their footing.

There had been speculation that Uiagalelei would transfer to UCLA, Washington or Oregon at the end of the season, but Washington and Oregon saw Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix return for 2023, and Kent State’s Collin Schlee was transferred at UCLA. There was even speculation – including a prediction from 247Sports Crystal Ball earlier in the week – that Uiagalelei would end up in Hawaii.

Instead, it’s another Pac-12 program that will seek to help the former five-star prospect reach his potential. Uiagalelei’s decision will come just days after his brother, five-star EDGE 2023 Matayo Uiagalelei, committed to rival Oregon on National Signing Day.

Best move for all parties

The No. 10 player in the 2020 class, Uiagalelei was expected to be the next QB superstar for Clemson, following in the footsteps of Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence. It failed to live up to the hype. In two seasons with the Tigers as a starter, DJU struggled to find consistency as a passer. He completed just 59.8% of his passes for 6.6 yards per attempt, and he finished the 2021 season with more interceptions (10) than passing touchdowns (nine). While he rebounded in 2022 with 22 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, speculation of possibly being replaced by Klubnik in 2023 seemed to weigh on him late in the season. He’s completed just 10 of 34 attempts in his last two games.

Now Uiagalelei is making a fresh start in the Pac-12 with the Beavers. He will play in the same condition as another transfer quarterback who needed a fresh start out West and found one in Bo Nix at Auburn. Meanwhile, Clemson can switch to Klubnik. Many Clemson fans will argue that Dabo Swinney waited too long to make the move, and it’s possible that if Uiagalelei had returned in 2023 he would still be the starter and the Tigers would have risked losing Klubnik at the transfer gate.

DJU is an upgrade for the state of Oregon

While Uiagalelei is unlikely to live up to the hype surrounding him after high school, it’s not like he’s not a talented player. Now he will play in an attack under Jonathan Smith who, frankly, is better equipped to capitalize on his talents. While Uiagalelei did Clemson a disservice, the Tigers’ scheme also deserved a fair amount of blame.

At Oregon State, Uiagalelei joins a team that went 10-3 this season despite losing starting QB Chance Nolan to injury five games into the season. Nolan was replaced by Ben Gulbranson, who played admirably but was not the difference-maker that Uiagalelei could be.

Pac-12 is deep at the QB league

Now, a lot of people — myself included — were saying the same thing about the ACC in 2022, and we saw how it worked out for Uiagalelei, Clemson and the conference as a whole. Still, the Pac-12 will have defending Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams back next season. Nix is ​​back in Oregon and Penix is ​​in Washington. Schlee isn’t a household name, but he posted big numbers at Kent State, and the Bruins also have a five-star freshman in Dante Moore coming to Brentwood.

Add Uiagalelei to the mix — along with Cam Ward at Washington State, Laura’s Jayden at Arizona, Drew Pyne at Arizona State and Sheduer Sanders at Colorado — and the Pac-12 appears to have considerable QB depth.

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