Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei an Early 2021 Heisman Favorite

Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei is already considered one of the favorites for college football's most prestigious award in 2021.
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With Clemson's 2020 season coming to a disappointing end on Friday night in the Sugar Bowl, we can now start looking ahead to the 2021 season. 

It is widely assumed that quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be moving onto the NFL and that freshman D.J. Uiagalelei will step into the starting role in 2021. Sportsline already considers the quarterback also known as "Big Cinco" as one of the favorites to win the Heisman next season.

2021 Heisman Favorites Per Sportsline

  • Spencer Rattler +300
  • D.J. Uiagalelei +400
  • Sam Howell +600
  • D'Eriq King +750
  • Bryce Young +1000
  • Kedon Slovis +1200

Uiagalelei started two games for the Tigers in 2020 in place of Lawrence, who was out due to a positive Covid test, and the young freshman did not disappoint.

In his first career start against Boston College, Uiagalelei was 30-41 for 342 yards and accounted for 3 touchdowns as he guided the Tigers to an 18-point comeback in a 34-28 win in Death Valley. 

“What I loved the most was his poise, demeanor,” Swinney said after the win. “He led the team. Everybody saw what we saw all the time as far as his demeanor."

The next week Uiagalelei went 29-44 for 439 yards against Notre Dame in South Bend. The Tigers came up short 47-40 in double overtime, but the young quarterback did throw for more yards against the Irish than anyone ever has. It was a performance that earned Uiagalelei ACC Rookie of the Week honors. 

Despite its tremendous success throughout the College Football Playoff era, Clemson has yet to have a player win the Heisman. Lawrence seemed to be the frontrunner halfway through the 2020 season and is still a finalist, but due to his positive test and a cancelation, the junior quarterback did go five consecutive weeks without playing a game, which greatly diminished his chances.

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