One of the top quarterbacks in the 2020 high school class has signed with Clemson. When explaining his decision to do so, he said: “They’re all big Christians.”
D.J. Uiagalelei, from Chino, CA, considered a top-50 2020 recruits, and #1 pocket passer in his class, chose Clemson over Oregon and Mt. San Antonio Junior College.
Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney is a devout Christian, as are many of his players, and this attracted Uiagalelei.
“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.”
After he made his decision to attend Clemson, Uiagalelei tweeted, “This is all God’s work and God’s timing, I am blessed to say I AM 100% COMMITTED! Happy birthday Mom.”
D.J. is the son of Tausha and David Uiagalelei. The quarterback’s father, known as “Big Dave,” is an Somoan immigrant, who’s 6-4, 394 pounds, and a bodyguard to a number of major musical stars, including Rihanna and DJ Khaled.
D.J. Uiagalelei got his size, 6-4, 243, from his father. He also possesses a rocket arm, capable of throwing the ball 85 yards, and is a top baseball pitching prospect as well. D.J. Uiagalelei was offered a full football scholarship by Indiana in the sixth grade, and by Alabama as a high school freshman.
His high school coach at St. John Bosco in Bellflower, CA, Jason Negro, thinks D.J. Uiagalelei will be an NFL first-round pick in a few years.
“I honestly think a year or two from where he’s at now, he could be one of the 32 guys starting in the NFL,” Negro told Bleacher Report. “As long as he stays healthy and continues down this career path, he’s gonna be a top-five or top-10 pick.”
But before that happens, he must go to college for three years (NFL rule), and he made it clear before his announcement his faith would be a factor in his school choice.
“Football and sports are a big thing, but I also want to become a better person and get more connected with God, just get closer with him, whatever college can also do that, that’s where I want to be at,” Uiagalelei said.
He feels Clemson, the defending national champions, can provide that.
While Clemson is a secular school, Swinney never hides his faith.
“It’s hard to survive and thrive in this world if you don’t have a spiritual foundation,” Swinney told Sports Spectrum in 2018. “For me, God has always, in my relationship with Christ, has given me hope and peace … If there’s hope in the future, there’s power in the present to deal with whatever mess you’re dealing with in your life, [and] what Christ did for me, it gave me a hope and a belief beyond my circumstances.
“Hopefully [my life’s] going to be pleasing to my Maker because I know I’m going to meet Him one day, and He’s not going to pat me on the back talking about how many wins I had, how many Coach of the Year trophies we got or how much money I made.”
And that faith, along with having one of the nation’s best college football programs, helped Swinney land perhaps the top QB prospect in the 2020 class.