Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was once called “The Kid With The Golden Arm” after throwing a football some 85 yards in the air with ease. His size has always made the Cam Newton comparison pretty easy. I personally get Duante Culpepper vibes from watching the talented signal-caller.
That same arm that is tearing up the college scene can also throw a baseball 95 MPH, which made MLB scouts mention “The Rocket” Roger Clemens when watching him pitch.
— 🌟 DJ Uiagalelei 🌟 (@DJUiagalelei) June 25, 2020
Uiagalelei always credits his parents (who are from the Samoan Islands) with instilling strong family values and morals during his upbringing.
His dad, known as “Big Dave,” may actually be more famous than his star quarterback son, having been a bodyguard to stars like Rihanna, DJ Khaled, Nick Cannon, Meek Mill, Chris Brown, and T-Pain.
He traveled the world on tours to support his family, but when DJ was nine and really beginning to take a liking to sports, he asked his dad “why aren’t you ever around”. His dad abandoned his lucrative profession to become a resource officer at his former high school.
Dave Uiagalelei, the father of Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei, is nicknamed Big Dave.
Big Dave worked as a celebrity bodyguard for years, using his 420-pound frame to protect celebrities like T-Pain and DJ Khaled.
Now he's celebrating as his son makes his first start at Clemson. pic.twitter.com/X4Ki0m896w
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 31, 2020
DJ’s mom Tausha knew she wouldn’t be able to work a regular 9-5 job and be able to take him to practices and camps, so she became a surrogate mother six times to make money for the family. Even with Dave making less money he made sure his son went to every camp to sharpen his football and baseball skillset.
Following a stellar youth career in baseball and football, DJ was recruited by many of the top HS in California. The likes of St John Bosco, Mater Dei, De La Salle, etc were all vying for the big gunslinger’s services. Being a Bellflower CA native, he and his family decided that Bosco would be the best place to attend high school. DJ began his HS career as the backup for two seasons to Josh Rosen, who went on to become the 10th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Once Rosen left for UCLA, DJ was handed the keys to the program.
All he did was pass for 3,366 yards and 48 touchdowns while winning USA Today High School Offensive Player Of The Year. He led Bosco to the California Division 1 title game against archrival Mater Dei Monarchs.
The Bosco Braves had just defeated the Monarchs 41-17 six weeks earlier and coming into this game they’d scored 49, 56, and 56 points respectively in three playoff victories and hadn’t scored less than 35 points in any game that season.
But this game was sentimental to the Monarchs for a few reasons. They wanted revenge for the regular season beatdown that the Braves administered. Also, legendary coach, Bruce Rollison was retiring at game’s end, and in his ten state title wins, he’d never gone back-to-back.
The Monarchs’ 5-star signal caller Bryce Young (Alabama) and do-it-all 5-star athlete Bru McCoy (USC) were intent on sending their coach out a winner. They battered Uiagalelei and the Braves all night, winning a defensive slugfest 17-13. Following the loss, it’s rumored that Uiagalelei went right to working out and prepping for his senior year while still leading the baseball program in the spring.
In his senior season, he once again lit it up, passing for 4,442 yards and 48 touchdowns and leading the Braves to another title game against the Monarchs and Bryce Young whom they’d lost to in the regular season and trailed 28-5 in both of these superstar signal-callers’ final high school game. Uiagalelei led them to a dramatic comeback win 39-34, producing 444 yards passing and 5 touchdown passes.
He committed to Clemson before his senior season and enrolled in the spring of 2020 and became the backup to Heisman favorite and presumptive 2021 NFL Draft No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence aka “Sunshine”.
5🌟 #1 overall 2020 QB DJ Uiagalelei commits to Clemson. pic.twitter.com/PdcQ2Hkl0r
— CFB Kings (@CFBKings) May 5, 2019
This season was supposed to be about mop-up duty and preparing to take the reigns in 2021. But with the COVID19 pandemic alive and kickin’ he was thrust into action once Lawrence tested positive.
In his first start leading the No. 1-ranked Tigers, DJ trailed 28-10 at home to the BC Eagles. He displayed the poise of a Heisman candidate and led them back to win 34-28 with 342 yards passing and 2 touchdowns through the air and another touchdown on the ground. Let’s not forget he’s a true freshman playing against a legit defense in BC.
After being told he’d be the starter heading into the Tigers marquee matchup of their regular season at No. 4 Notre Dame he responded with “Ill Be Ready.”
Ready he was, passing for 439 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 47-40 double overtime loss in South Bend. His 439 yards passing are the most any ND team has ever surrendered and the most since (Carson Palmer USC) passed for 425 against the Irish in 2002.
They didn’t get the win… but I know y’all WOKE to DJ Uiagalelei now 🗣 @DJUiagalelei
29/44 | 439 yards | 3 total TDs | 0 INT
Star in the making.
— Overtime (@overtime) November 8, 2020
The loss ended a 37-game regular-season winning streak for the Tigers but they’ll likely see ND in the ACC Championship game in Charlotte in December. Both could easily be CFP teams if Clemson wins the rematch.
It’s safe to say Dabo Sweeney has a knack for landing the elite signal-caller, From Deshaun Watson (MJ) to Trevor Lawrence (Kobe) to DJ Uiagalelei (Shaq) as he uses basketball megastars to identify his QBs. And this team is in great hands for the foreseeable future with DJ leading the way once Trevor is off to the NFL.
He has a little brother named Matayo a 4 ⭐️ defensive end who plays at Bosco currently and goes 6’4 245 pounds. He’s a class of 2023 baller with offers from the likes of Alabama, Oregon, USC, LSU, Texas A&M and others already.