Can Clemson possibly survive with gigantic 5-star backup QB DJ Uiagalelei?
At schools like Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson, they don't "rebuild," they "reload." However, the one position it can be tough to simply "reload" at is quarterback. Take a look at how LSU is doing this year without Joe Burrow. Not great.
On Thursday, the Clemson Tigers found themselves in the same boat as LSU when news broke that Trevor Lawrence, future No. 1 overall draft pick and Heisman favorite, had tested positive for COVID-19. He will miss Saturday's game against Boston College, and potentially next week's monster tilt with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
As LSU has learned, you do not simply replace a Burrow or a Lawrence. That said, Clemson might be able to survive this week with its backup DJ Uiagalelei, the former No. 1 quarterback recruit out of St. John Bosco in California who stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 250 pounds:
Uiagalelei, who is of Samoan descent, threw for over 4,200 yards and 48 (!!) touchdowns as a high school senior. He also ran for 412 yards and scored eight rushing touchdowns. As a junior, he also threw 48 touchdown passes ans scored six times with his legs. In 2019, Uiagalelei led St. John Bosco to an undisputed national title, the highlight of the year coming in a November game against Mater Dei. Uiagalelei's team trailed 28-5 late in the first half and he brought them all the way back to win 39-34:
Gee, we really hope the Tiger can hang on with this kid under center, especially now that they are only 24-point favorites instead of 31-point favorites. Here's Uiagalelei launching one over them mountains to beat current Ohio State QB Justin Fields in a throwing contest:
And here he is doing his best Patrick Mahomes impression:
Please keep Clemson in your thoughts and prayers.
All kidding aside, let's hope for a speedy recovery for Lawrence, who is must-see television when he's on the field. But this weekend, and for at least two or three more years, all eyes are going to be on Uiagalelei. Better learn how to pronounce his name now:
Seems easy enough.