While there may be some questions concerning depth at the quarterback position for Clemson, there certainly no questions when it comes to the top of the depth chart.
With Trevor Lawrence getting ready to start his NFL career, talented rising sophomore D.J. Uiagalelei is set to take over as the Tigers' starting quarterback next season. By all accounts, Uiagalelei is more than ready to step into the spotlight.
Following Clemson's annual spring game, head coach Dabo Swinney said the coaching staff wants Uiagalelei to focus this summer on building off what was a strong spring for the quarterback.
"Just back to work, you know," Swinney said. "I mean, just really taking ownership of this offense. You know, go back through installation, go back through all the spring. He really, really had a good spring."
Uiagalelei enters his first season as the Tigers' starting quarterback with a mountain of expectations upon his shoulders and Swinney said one of the first steps of meeting those expectations is being able to evolve into one of the leaders on the team.
"We're talking about trying to be elite, and helping him reach that," Swinney said. "He's a very good player but helping him become the best version of him. So, going back through all his mistakes, you know, really studying some of the situational stuff, really asserting himself as a leader, something he didn't have to do last year.
"He's got to lead the skills and drills. He didn't really get a chance to have the proper summer skills and drills last year. So I'm excited about what we've got a chance to do these next four months."
Another thing the coaching staff wants Uiagalelei to focus on is dedicating himself to being as mentally prepared as possible. They also want him to take the next step in his development from a physical standpoint.
"Just going and doing it," Swinney said. "Studying, you know, going through all the scouting reports, studying our opponents. Again, get a head start on some of that stuff. Get his body in the best possible position that it's been in. He does a good job of that. He's a true freshman. His body's not nearly as mature as it's gonna be as he continues to grind in the weight room, nutrition and so forth."
As Clemson heads into the summer, Swinney said the Tigers have what they think is a great plan for Uiagalelei and knowing what the young quarterback expects of himself, there is no worry about him putting in the work.
"So just really, we're putting a plan together for him, execute the plan," Swinney said. "But I can tell you this D.J., whatever we tell him, it's going to pale in comparison to what his expectations of himself are. And I love that about him, he's a grinder."
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