Publish date:

Getting to Know D.J.: 5 Things Learned about Uiagalelei at ACC Kickoff

In his first in-person, Zoom-less interview, Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei didn't disappoint as the young man let the media get to know him at ACC Kickoff.

D.J. Uiagalelei had no deer in the headlights look Thursday. 

The Clemson quarterback didn't carry himself like a young player who's made just two career starts. The moment wasn't too big and the questions weren't difficult. Uiagalelei handled being in the spotlight at ACC Kickoff like a seasoned veteran. 

But if you told that to head coach Dabo Swinney, he never would've expected anything else out of his sophomore sensation. The California kid displayed a laid-back and humble attitude that his coaches and teammates have talked about since last year. 

Still, it was the first time local, regional and national media got a chance to really get to know the tall, solidly-built signal-caller, and Uiagalelei, who's +1100 to win the Heisman Trophy according to FanDuel, didn't disappoint. Here are five things we learned about him during his first in-person, Zoom-less session with reporters since his college career began:

1. Newly-licensed driver

Believe it or not, the 20-year-old didn't come to Clemson with a driver's license. He didn't have one during his freshman year either. In fact, he just became a licensed driver last month when he was home in California. 

Uiagalelei said he had his mom drive him around as a teenager, but there was an obvious need to get around campus now that he's far from home. 

2. What's the worry?

Question after question, the Clemson QB was unflappable. Season opener against Georgia under the bright lights Sept. 4? No problem. Dealing with name, image and likeness and how it might affect his relationship with teammates? No worries there. Taking over for Trevor Lawrence, one the most talented QBs Clemson's ever had? Uigalelei's fine. 

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

USATSI_13645115_168387971_lowres

Dave Doeren, NC State Looking Forward to Matchup With 'Tough' Clemson Defense

Ninth-ranked Clemson travels to Raleigh this weekend for matchup with NC State, with Dave Doeren and the Wolfpack looking to break an eight game losing streak to the Tigers.

Ajou Ajou

Swinney on Lack of Explosive Plays: 'I can assure you we don't stink'

The Clemson offense has sputtered and gagged through the first three games, which is clearly not what anyone expected—or what is expected.

IMG_0426

Clemson's Offensive Line Dealing with Lack of Depth, Cohesion Issues

Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott hoped the Tigers' offensive line would come together quicker, but lack of depth hasn't helped.

But when asked what actually does give him anxiety, we found his weakness: homework. To be fair, nobody LIKES homework, at least they shouldn't so he gets a pass for being human. 

3. No new taxes

Uiagalelei didn't grow up with a favorite NFL team. He was more of a college guy. But he's already picked out his next destination. 

"The team I want to go to is whatever team doesn’t have state taxes,” Uiagalelei said. 

Smart man. He did say he's always like the Raiders, and Las Vegas meets his tax requirements and is three hours away from his hometown, so he'd like to end up there, Uiagalelei said. 

4. "Big Cinco" chain

At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, Uiagalelei already stands out in a crowd, but the bling around his neck shines right as well. He goes by "Big Cinco," a nickname that will certainly enhance his brand in this new era of NIL. He's already got a deal with Bojangles, so he'll probably end up having his own combo or something. 

But the necklace can be a marketing tool as well, and it's something he had specially made by a jeweler from the West Coast. 

5. Horticulture shock

Uiagalelei said it took some adjustments when he moved from the West Coast and the crowded Los Angeles area to the small college town of Clemson. There were culture shocks for sure. 

However, there was one major difference that he couldn't get past: the trees. Uiagalelei said they were everywhere, big green ones. He doesn't have that where he lives in California, so getting used to the landscape of South Carolina took some time for him.