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DJ Uiagalelei Transfer Portal: What Are His 3 Best Landing Spots?

  • Justin Melo
  • December 5, 2022
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Clemson Tigers quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei is entering the transfer portal, according to multiple reports. Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney benched Uiagalelei in Saturday’s ACC Championship victory over North Carolina. Uiagalelei began the contest 2-of-5 for 10 yards before making way for Cade Klubnik. Swinney confirmed that Klubnik is Clemson’s starting quarterback moving forward.

“Moving forward, Cade will be the starter, and DJ will be the backup,” Swinney said.

Uiagalelei is not expected to settle for a backup role. A change of scenery that allows him to compete for a starting job best suits his needs. 

A former five-star recruit and the No. 2 overall player in the 2020 recruiting class, Uiagalelei has failed to meet expectations. Throughout 2022, Uiagalelei completed 62.1% of his passing attempts. Uiagalelei threw 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

With two years of eligibility remaining, his services will be desired by QB-needy teams via the transfer portal. We’ve swiftly identified three potential landing spots for Uiagalelei.

UCLA Bruins

Uiagalelei first captured the attention of powerhouse programs around the nation by showcasing his talents at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, California. Uiagalelei ultimately departed the state of California to play at Clemson, but a return to his home state will be within the realm of possibility.

Uiagalelei is expected to consider several Pac-12 programs. It’s worth noting that his brother Matayo Uiagalelei has taken official visits to several local programs such as Oregon and USC. Matayo’s decision could have an impact on D.J.’s destination.

Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is heading for the NFL. Thompson-Robinson has already accepted an invite to play in the East-West Shrine Game. Bruins head coach Chip Kelly could turn his attention to the transfer portal in search of his replacement. Kelly is an offensive-minded leader that’s capable of helping Uiagalelei repair his reputation.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame starting quarterback Tyler Buchner suffered a serious shoulder injury in September. Drew Pyne performed admirably in place of Buchner, but recently announced his decision to enter the transfer portal as well. With Pyne on his way out and Buchner failing to stay healthy with the desired consistency, the Fighting Irish are expected to pursue another quarterback via the portal.

Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman is a strong leader. Freeman possesses the leadership abilities necessary to unlock Uiagalelei’s full potential. Uiagalelei’s confidence appeared broken down the stretch. Freeman is a legitimate leader of men. If Uiagalelei forgoes an opportunity to return to California, Notre Dame is the program that makes the most sense.

Oregon Ducks

Oregon will be a possibility if Ducks starting quarterback Bo Nix declares for the 2023 NFL Draft. Nix is allegedly undecided. A return to Oregon could be on the cards, but Nix should seriously consider making the jump to the next level. It’s difficult to imagine Nix’s NFL draft stock improving by playing another season at Oregon.

As previously mentioned, Uiagalelei’s brother has already taken an official visit to Oregon. D.J. and Matayo could consider arriving at a program as a packaged deal. That can only happen if Matayo commits to a school that would provide D.J. with an opportunity to compete for its starting quarterback gig. That wouldn’t be possible at USC, for example, but it could occur at Oregon if Nix declares for the draft.

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Justin Melo