CLEMSON, S.C. — The two-year anniversary of D.J. Uiagalelei's first start is approaching.
It was an October afternoon, Halloween to be precise, and the top-ranked team in the country had a home game against Boston College.
But that highly-ranked team was missing its starting quarterback. Trevor Lawrence had tested positive for COVID-19 so true freshman D.J. Uiagalelei was thrust into the lineup.
In his debut, Uiagalelei threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns to lead the top-ranked Tigers from 18 points down to a 34-28 victory.
With Lawrence sidelined for the following week's game at Notre Dame, Uiagalelei threw for 439 yards which was the most ever at Notre Dame Stadium. The Tigers lost in overtime, 47-41, to the Fighting Irish.
Success did not come quite as easy for Uiagalelei in his sophomore season as the Tiger offense struggled to find traction. Clemson would stumble out of the gates to a 4-3 record and had to win its final six games to extend its streak of consecutive seasons of double-digits wins to 11. But that 10-3 season meant no ACC Championship and no trip to the College Football Playoff, snapping a streak of six consecutive seasons of checking both of those high-profile boxes.
Through five games of 2022, Uiagalelei is looking like the quarterback who filled in more than admirably for Lawrence in 2020.
He guided an offensive explosion in Winston-Salem in Clemson's 51-45 double-overtime win at Wake Forest. Against N.C. State, Uiagaelei was an efficient 12 of 26 passing for 111 yards and two touchdowns with one INT. he also added a career-high 63 yards rushing for the Tigers who won their top 10 matchup with N.C. State 30-20.
Head coach Dabo Swinney says he is "super proud" of his quarterback who has experienced the peaks and valleys of a career and is better having gone through the adversity of last season.