DJ Uiagalelei is still on the mend after a 2021 season that saw the sophomore quarterback suffer multiple injuries.
Despite those injuries, which included torn tendons in the index finger of his throwing hand and a sprained PCL in his knee, Uiagalelei started all 13 games, but there have been some questions surrounding whether the quarterback will be healed up enough to participate in spring practice.
New offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter spoke during Clemson’s National Signing Day show on Wednesday and appeared hopeful that Uiagalelei would be ready to go.
“The anticipation right now is he is going to be healthy (for spring), and he is,” Streeter said. “He is getting better and better. I can’t say he is 100 percent, but his knee is getting back to close to normal. He is working his tail off.”
Uiagalelei’s struggles were well documented throughout the 2021 season, but one of the more evident issues was the quarterback’s ability to run. While he will never be one of the fastest players on the field, the 6-foot-5 quarterback is looking to shed some weight before next season in an effort to help his mobility.
“One thing we talked about is we need to get his weight down a little bit so he can maneuver a little bit better,” Streeter said. “And he has already lost like 10 pounds. He’s never had any issue with working hard. I’m excited about his future. I’m excited to his response to what happened this past year. I’m anxious to watch him in the spring and see how he does.”
Streeter also noted that Uiagalelei is anxious to put last season behind him and that his quarterback’s mindset is different. At the same time, Streeter said Uiagalelei doesn’t want to necessarily forget about last season, but rather use the adversity to his advantage and grow from it.
“I’ve met with him a couple of times, and he is fired up about getting going and coming out with a fresh start and getting healthy,” Streeter said. “He’s just got a different mindset. Like I said earlier, this team learned a lot of lessons this last year. He is one of them. He’s one of the guys that learned a lot of lessons. Some good lessons and some lessons that he has to continue to grow from. He’s willing to do that. I know he is going to put the work in.”
Clemson and Notre Dame have released depth charts ahead of this weekend’s matchup at Death Valley.
For the second time this season, Clemson will be an underdog at home.
Despite Clemson’s astonishing loss to Miami, the Tigers will head to Raleigh next week favored over NC State.