Summer 2024

Top QB prospect D.J. Uiagalelei cites faith as main reason for committing to Clemson

The national champion Clemson Tigers may have found their next starting quarterback once Trevor Lawrence departs. D.J. Uiagalelei, ESPN’s top-ranked pocket passer and Rivals’ top overall prospect in the class of 2020, committed to Clemson on Sunday.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

Uiagalelei announced his decision in a tweet with a caption that said, in part, “This is all God’s work and God’s timing.” In the accompanying video, Uiagalelei said, “Football and sports is a big thing, but I also want to become just a better person in life — get more connected with God, just get closer with Him. Whatever college can also do that, that’s where I want to be at.”

In his two seasons as a starter at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif., Uiagalelei has thrown for a total of 6,099 yards, 77 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. In 2018, he completed 70 percent of his passes and threw 48 touchdowns while leading St. John Bosco to a 13-1 record.

Uiagalelei, who had offers from almost every major program, ultimately chose Clemson over Oregon. He pointed to the strong faith of Christ-followers inside the Clemson program, including head coach Dabo Swinney, as one of the main reasons to go there.

“My faith is important to me, and the first time I went out there was in June, and that’s what sold me, knowing they’re all big Christians,” Uiagalelei told ESPN. “I didn’t commit when I was out there, but that’s when I told myself that’s where I wanted to be.”

Uiagalelei is also a highly-touted baseball prospect with a 95-mile-an-hour fastball, and is planning to play both sports in college. When Uiagalelei arrives at Clemson in 2020, Lawrence will have one year remaining before he is eligible to enter the NFL Draft. Should Lawrence declare after his junior year as many expect, Uiagalelei would be in line to become the starting quarterback as a sophomore.

Lawrence was among the many to congratulate Uiagalelei on his decision:

Dabo Swinney coaches Clemson to 2nd national title, praises ‘the good Lord’
MAGAZINE: Preach It, Dabo Swinney — Clemson’s coach is unashamed of the Gospel
Faith-filled college coaches Dabo Swinney, Tony Bennett are champions for the Lord
New Clemson starting QB Trevor Lawrence says his identity is found in Christ alone