Dabo Swinney Expecting Uiagalelei to 'Step Up and Be That Leader'

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says over the next few months that he expects new starting quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei to step up and take over a leadership role on the offensive side of the ball.
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Playing quarterback is more than making the highlight reel throws.

It is the most important position on the field and those that master the craft of playing quarterback not only excel at getting the best out of themselves, they also learn what it takes to get the best out of their teammates. 

With spring practice now underway at Clemson and Trevor Lawrence no longer around, head coach Dabo Swinney is looking to new starting quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei to step into that leadership role on the offensive side of the ball that Lawrence has filled the past three seasons.

"It really evolves organically but it's definitely something that we talk to our players (about)," Swinney said. "A big part of our program is developing leadership and it's no different than when Trevor was here his freshman year, he's just trying to earn the respect of his teammates, this and that, kind of go prove it. You know D.J. is, you know, we need him to step up and be that leader, be that example for the offense, and he is that."

Between now and next season the Tigers' head coach said that he expects his new starting quarterback to gradually grow into his new role in the offense and that it's a process that organically takes place.

"This is kind of the process," Swinney said. "Between now and August, that naturally takes place but he's off to a great start. Had an unbelievable day today. I mean he is mentally just in a really good place."

Swinney said that Uiagalelei's laid-back personality can be deceiving at times, but that the quarterback isn't afraid to assert himself vocally when the situation calls for it.

"Don't don't let him fool you," Swinney said. "He's very calm and cool demeanor, great poise, but he's incredibly committed. He's passionate about being great. And he's not afraid to challenge his teammates at all."