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‘More confident’ DJ Uiagalelei impressing teammates and coaches

Aralynn Minnick, Asst. Photo Editor

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei takes a snap during Clemson’s 2022 spring game in Memorial Stadium.

With less than three weeks to go until the Tigers travel to Atlanta for their season opener against Georgia Tech, Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has drawn mountains of praise from coaches and teammates alike.
Specifically, those around Uiagalelei have seen a different mentality in the third-year signal-caller, who according to offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter, has shown improved mobility and accuracy with more continuity on offense.
“I think he’s just gotten more confident,” Streeter said on Monday. “When you have guys that are back healthy, and day in and day out you’re throwing to the same guys, that creates a lot of confidence. And so, his accuracy has been a lot better this fall.”
Coming off a season in which he completed 55.6% of his passes for 2,246 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions, Uiagalelei knew he needed to improve over the offseason.
“For me, I didn’t want to take any days off after the season,” Uiagalelei said at ACC media day in July. “Just get straight back into working. I feel like that’s the biggest thing. Whatever you put in is whatever you’re going to get out. So for me, I want to be the hardest worker on the field. I want to be there for my teammates.”
Also speaking at ACC media day, left tackle Jordan McFadden was adamant that Uiagalelei took the necessary steps to improve in 2022.
“He’s put in the work,” McFadden said. “He’s done everything you could ask, everything you could want him to do this offseason. I’m super excited to block for him.”
After an offseason filled with weight loss, recovery and preparation, Uiagalelei has also impressed head coach Dabo Swinney through the first few weeks of camp. According to Swinney, Uiagalelei is “mentally a different person than he was this time last year.”
Physically, Uiagalelei has made similar strides. According to Swinney, Uiagalelei has lost about 30 pounds from the end of last year and is “elite” in his nutrition and body composition, weighing in at 234 pounds at Clemson’s official weigh in on Aug. 4.
“I know a quarterback has to be able to run, so that was a big thing for me this year, to be able to be a threat with my feet whenever I can be,” Uiagalelei said last week.
Uiagalelei has also impressed sophomore offensive lineman Marcus Tate, who honored Uiagalelei with the superlative of “hardest working dude” on Clemson’s roster.
“He’s gonna put on a show this year,” Tate said. “Best quarterback in the nation.”

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