Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei transferring to Oregon State as five-star prospect attempts to reset career

DJ Uiagalei spins Clemson’s orange and purple for Oregon State’s orange and black. Uiagalei committed to the Beavers for the 2023 season after an underwhelming career with the Tigers on Saturday.

Uiagalelei, a five-star prospect in the 2020 class, competed for Cade Klubnick during Clemson’s ACC Championship game win over North Carolina. He entered the transfer portal two days later. This after Wiagaley was pulled for several games during the season as Clemson’s offense constantly struggled to find its footing.

Wiagalei was expected to transfer to UCLA, Washington or Oregon at the end of the season, but Washington and Oregon commits Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix return in 2023, and Kent State’s Collin Schlee transferred to UCLA. There was speculation earlier in the week that Waiagalelei would go to Hawaii, including a 247Sports crystal ball prediction.

Instead, it’s another Pac-12 program looking to help the former five-star prospect realize his potential. Uiagalei’s decision follows his brother, 2023 five-star EDGE Matayo Uiagalei, in a few days. Decided to compete with Oregon State National Signing Day.

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Best move for all parties

The No. 10 overall pick in the 2020 class, Wiagaley was projected to be Clemson’s next superstar QB, following Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence. He did not make a fuss. During his two seasons as a starter for the Tigers, DJU struggled to find consistency as a pass rusher. He completed just 59.8% of his passes for 6.6 yards per attempt and finished the 2021 season with more passing yards (nine) than interceptions (10). He bounced back in 2022 with 22 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, but speculation that he might be 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, Uiagalei is starting a new career in the Pac-12 with the Beavers. He’ll be playing in the same state as another transfer quarterback who needed a fresh start in the West and found one in Bo Nix at Auburn. In the meantime, Clemson can move on to Strawberry. Many Clemson fans will argue that Dabo Swinney waited too long to make the move, and if Uiagalelei were to return in 2023, he would still be the starter and the Tigers would have risked losing Klubnik to the trade portal.

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DJU is Oregon State Reform

Uyaagalei is unlikely to live up to the hype that has surrounded him since high school, but he doesn’t appear to be a gifted player. Now he’ll be playing under Jonathan Smith, who, frankly, is better equipped to utilize his talents. Wiagalei didn’t do Clemson any favors, but the Tigers’ scheme was equally to blame.

At Oregon State, Uiagalei joined a team that went 10-3 this season despite losing starting QB Chance Nolan for five games to an injury. Nolan was replaced by Ben Gulbranson, who played brilliantly but not to the extent of Uiagalele.

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The Pac-12 is deep in QB leagues

In 2022, many people, myself included, were saying the same thing about the ACC, and we saw how it affected Wyagalelei, Clemson and the conference. However, the Pac-12 will have Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams next season. The Knicks are back in Oregon and the Penix are back in Washington. Schley isn’t a big name, but he was highly touted at Kent State, and the Bruins also have five-star freshman prospect Dante Moore coming to Brentwood.

With Cam Ward at Washington State, Jayden de Laura at Arizona State, Drew Pine at Arizona State and Sheduer Sanders at Colorado, adding Uiagalelei, the Pac-12 looks to have QB depth.


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