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DJ Uiagalelei enters transfer portal: You know, he played for Tony Elliott

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Photo: UVA Athletics

Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei announced Monday that he has entered the transfer portal, a quick turn for a guy who started the ACC Championship Game less than 48 hours ago.

Uiagalelei was benched after two series, both ending in three-and-outs, in favor of freshman backup Cade Klubnik, who was 20-of-24 for 279 yards and a TD in the 39-10 win over North Carolina.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said after the game that Klubnik will start the team’s bowl game, which will be the Dec. 30 Capital One Orange Bowl, against Tennessee.

Uiagalelei passed for 2,521 yards, 22 TDs, seven INTs, a 62.1 percent completion rate and a 135.3 passer rating in 2022, a big improvement from his 2021 numbers – 2,246 yards, nine TDs, 10 INTs, a 55.6 percent completion rate and a 108.7 passer rating.

First-year UVA head coach Tony Elliott was the offensive coordinator at Clemson in 2021, and Elliott is now on the lookout for a new QB after his 2022 starter, Brennan Armstrong, announced last week that he would enter the transfer portal after a disappointing season trying to run Elliott’s pro-style offense.

It’s obvious that Elliott is going to need to go to the transfer portal at the least to add depth in the thin QB room.

Armstrong’s backup, sophomore Jay Woolfolk, is also a highly-touted baseball prospect, and was recruited by the offensive staff of Elliott’s predecessor, Bronco Mendenhall, and would seem to be better suited to run the Air Raid offense of Mendenhall’s offensive coordinator, Robert Anae.

Elliott may indeed be thinking of looking for a new starter on the portal.

I wouldn’t expect Uiagalelei, a five-star recruit in the prep Class of 2020, to look at Virginia as a first option, but there is at least some familiarity between the QB and the head coach.

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Chris Graham

In addition to being the editor of Augusta Free Press, I've written seven books, including Poverty of Imagination and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, both published in 2019, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For my commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to my YouTube page, youtube.com/chrisgrahamAFP. Want to reach me? Try [email protected].