Swinney Updates Uiagalelei, Phommachanh Injuries After GT Win

Brad Senkiw

Clemson is obviously in a great position at quarterback with Trevor Lawrence at the helm, but the No. 1 Tigers' backups aren't as well off from a health standpoint coming out of the Georgia Tech game. 

Freshman D.J. Uiagalelei, who's listed second on the depth chart, didn't see any snaps in the 73-7 blowout Saturday because of an injury suffered against Miami in the previous game. 

It was reported during the Clemson Tigers Network broadcast that he was dealing with shoulder stiffness, but neither head coach Dabo Swinney nor offensive coordinator Tony Elliott had much to say on the extent of the injury. 

"I'm not going to get into specifics of anything other than he was just sore," Swinney said after the game. "He got beat up a little bit in the game last week and we just wanted to hold him."

Uiagalelei, one of the top prospects in Clemson's star-studded 2020 recruiting class, had played in every game this season before Saturday. The California native is 11-of-16 passing on the season for 91 yards. He hasn't thrown a touchdown but he has scored twice on the season via the ground, where he's accumulated 32 yards on eight carries. 

Uiagalelei traveled with the team and was on the sideline during the game, but his status for next week's game against Syracuse is unknown. His inability to play at GT was a disappointment for fans as he would've likely seen his most extensive playing time. 

That was supposed to end up going to third-string QB Taisun Phommachanh, but the redshirt freshman suffered a hand injury in the second half that sent him to the sideline. Swinney said Phommachanh has a small break in his left (non-throwing) hand, and it's unclear if he'll be able to play through it.   

"We'll have to see once they get in there and see exactly the extent of it and what they need to do, and how they brace it or cast it or whatever," Swinney said.

Phommachanh had just two completions for nine yards before the injury. Clemson turned to preferred walk-on Hunter Helms in the fourth quarter, and the true freshman threw two touchdowns and was 5-of-7 passing for 74 yards. His 254 passer rating was higher than Lawrence, who threw for over 400 yards and tossed five touchdowns. 

Clemson also played punter Will Spiers at QB late in the game. Spiers moonlighted on offense during spring practice to give the Tigers another passer during drills. He finished 2-for-3 passing for 13 yards against Georgia Tech, while also averaging 50.7 yards on three punts. 

Swinney will meet with the media later Sunday and could have more updates on injuries.