CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It didn't take long for D.J. Uiagalelei to recognize what's important to people in the South.
The California native and current Clemson starting quarterback signing a name, image and likeness endorsement deal recently with fast-food chain Bojangles proved that.
"Bojangles is definitely a recent discovery," Uiagalelei said Thursday at ACC Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C. "California, we don't have Bojangles down there. I remember one thing coming down here to the South, one thing I definitely learned is Jesus is number one here, then it goes football, and then...people love Bojangles down here."
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That priority list sounds about right, and the player known as "Big Cinco" is cashing in on the latter. Uiagalelei is heading into his first season at the helm of one of the highest-scoring offenses in the country. He threw for 934 yards, including 439 in a start at Notre Dame, and five touchdowns to no interceptions in nine games as the backup to Trevor Lawrence.
His size, demeanor and athletic ability make him an attractive endorser, but Uiagalelei doesn't think that this new era of college football and profiting off his name changes what he's at Clemson to do.
"I signed with a marketing agency, VaynerSports, with AJ Vaynerchuk and Gary V. The whole idea of that was to make sure my goal is I want to be a student-athlete," Uiagalelei said. "So school comes first. I want to graduate. I want to be a football player second. I want to make sure all my focus is on those two. In my off time, I can have people worry about my branding, NIL and stuff like that. That's how I'm treating the NIL."