‘Dude’s A Freak’: Dabo Swinney Defends DJ Uiagalelei After Brutal 2021 Season

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Dabo Swinney doesn’t want to hear criticism of Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei.

Uiagalelei was viewed as the next Clemson star when he took over for Trevor Lawrence, but things didn’t work out that way in 2021.

Clemson went 9-3 during the regular season, and the highly-touted QB struggled mightily at times. He finished the 2021 season with nine passing touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Naturally, he has faced some tough criticism, and Dabo wants that to end.

“This dude’s a freak. And people talk about him like he’s some slapdick from Eastaboga Community College and this guy can play the game at the highest level. He’s going to play the game at the highest level,” Swinney said during an appearance on Sirius XM.

Unfortunately, Swinney needs to understand the benefit of the doubt is gone for Uiagalelei. When he played great against Notre Dame in 2020, people were convinced he’d be a star.

Dabo Swinney defends DJ Uiagalelei (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

It might still happen, but it definitely didn’t happen in 2021. He looked like a fish out of water at times. The man was a five star recruit, and had more interceptions than touchdowns last season.

That’s simply a brutal stat. Not only were his stats disappointing, but it was Clemson’s most disappointing season in a long time. All the way around, it was a tough year.

DJ Uiagalelei (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Can Uiagalelei bounce back? Sure, but until he does, there’s no reason to believe he’s going to ever be a star like the guys who came before him at Clemson.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


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