Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021


by - Contributor -
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney credited Uiagalelei for improving as the season went on.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney credited Uiagalelei for improving as the season went on.

Clemson football put a wrap on another double-digit win campaign recently, and with the help of analytics, we take a deeper look into the 10-3 Tigers season by position, continuing with the Clemson QBs.

Clemson quarterback grades and stats

DJ Uiagalelei (So. 6-4 250)

Snaps: 855

PFF (Pro Football Focus) grade (0-100): 66.6 (No. 15 in ACC)

Completion percentage: 55.6% (208/374)

Passing yards: 2,246

Passing TDs: 9

INTs: 10

Rushing yards: 308

Rushing TDs: 4

Taisun Phommachanh (Rs. So. 6-3 220)

Snaps: 43*

Completion percentage: 57.9% (11/19)

Passing yards: 131

Passing TDs: 1

INTs: 1

Rushing yards: 56

Rushing TDs: 1

* Too few snaps for reliable PFF grade

TigerNet Take

DJ Uiagalelei took almost all the snaps at quarterback, but he never recaptured the success he enjoyed in 2020’s two-game sample. He showed it in flashes, like on the 58-yard pass to Beaux Collins against Wake Forest but never for a full game.

His best game by almost any measure came against Louisville when he threw for 220 yards with a 60% completion percentage and two TDs. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to build on it – possibly due to a knee injury suffered at Louisville. His very next game was his worst of the year, as he completed less than half of his passes against UConn. After that, the offense began relying more heavily on the running game and asked him to be more of a game manager.

Uiagalelei struggled with his accuracy all season. He often missed receivers completely or put the ball on the wrong shoulder and gave defensive backs an opportunity to break it up. This shows up in his 55.6% completion percentage. Of course, it would only be fair to acknowledge the drops from the pass catchers that played a big role in dragging that percentage down:

As you can see above, even if you adjust for drops, his completion percentage would still be relatively poor. Issues with receiver route running hurt him too, but it would be wrong not to acknowledge his role in the passing game’s shortcomings. (For a more detailed film breakdown the passing game’s issues click here.)

Even while he struggled passing the ball, Uiagalelei seldom used his legs to create when plays broke down. Part of this was due to his own injuries, but the offense missed that element. He said he likes running the ball, so hopefully we see him improvise more when the opportunities are there. With top recruit Cade Klubnik joining the QB room, there should be more depth, which hopefully encourages new offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter to call more QB designed-runs than we saw in 2021.

Behind Uiagalelei was Taisun Phommachanh. Phommachanh tore his Achilles tendon in the spring game and remarkably came back in time to play in the Week 2 contest against SC State. He only had 19 pass attempts all season so it is hard to give much of an assessment, but his 57.9% completion percentage was a considerable upgrade from the 37.9% he had across his first two seasons (29 pass attempts). He came in during the UConn game and was having a career day against his hometown team with a 33-yard pass and a TD run in just four snaps but left with a shoulder injury. Injuries and inconsistent passing kept him from making a major impact during his time at Clemson and he is now in the transfer portal looking for a new school.

Walk-ons Hunter Helms and Billy Wiles combined for just 36 total snaps on the season while QB/WR Will Taylor had 15 and didn’t attempt a pass. Taylor will move to slot receiver next season after recovering from a torn ACL.

With the injuries to Uiagalelei (knee, finger) and Phommachanh (Achilles, shoulder) as well as the struggles at wide receiver (we gave the WR position a D-grade), I’m somewhat understanding of the struggles Clemson endured at the QB position. Still, Clemson must get much better if they expect to be a legitimate National Championship contender.

TigerNet Grade: C-

More position grades

Cornerbacks

Wide receivers

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Subject (Replies: 84) Author
spacer TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
TigerNet News
spacer C minus?? Dang, wish TigerNet was one of my Professors at CU
hotsawce
spacer Re: C minus?? Dang, wish TigerNet was one of my Professors at CU
Bareftn
spacer Riiight?!?***
ATL PAW MAN®
spacer Re: C minus?? Dang, wish TigerNet was one of my Professors at CU
Stillapirate
spacer Re: C minus?? Dang, wish TigerNet was one of my Professors at CU
someguyfromnc
spacer Your reading comprehension skills are suspect
hotsawce
spacer Re: Your reading comprehension skills are suspect
Native
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
LeonTrotsky®
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westerntigerfan
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LeonTrotsky®
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tigerrag86
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LeonTrotsky®
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
gottigers81
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
WDQB1
spacer Yes there were a lot of problems.
Lowcntry_Tiger®
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
Native
spacer I think that's our ranking in adjusted completion %
TigersAndCubs®
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85tiger2012®
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SocMan2®
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SocMan2®
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greene®
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HumbleServant®
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Just_Sayin
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
Native
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
westerntigerfan
spacer Those drops are acknowledged and accounted for in that stat
TigersAndCubs®
spacer 10 wins for team = B+ grade. C- seems about right for DJ ..
DueWest
spacer Re: 10 wins for team = B+ grade. C- seems about right for DJ ..
tigerrag86
spacer Which “other” QB are you referring to?
DueWest
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
TigerDadfromNJ
spacer That's basically what adjusted completion % is***
TigersAndCubs®
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
TigerDadfromNJ
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
Just_Sayin
spacer very fair assessment***
tigrrfan
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westerntigerfan
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
Valley Boy
spacer I'm not going to bash anyone but this was way to generous.***
colberttiger
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
tigerrag86
spacer Is AY/A air yards or adjusted yards?
TigersAndCubs®
spacer Re: Is AY/A air yards or adjusted yards?
tigerrag86
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
TigerLinks®
spacer Do wish he would return to earlier form, and give Klubnik
tigeron®
spacer Re: Do wish he would return to earlier form, and give Klubnik
aroseforthehall
spacer Re: Do wish he would return to earlier form, and give Klubnik
rhettfla
spacer Re: Do wish he would return to earlier form, and give Klubnik
aroseforthehall
spacer Re: Do wish he would return to earlier form, and give Klubnik
aroseforthehall
spacer Re: Do wish he would return to earlier form, and give Klubnik
Clemgalalways®
spacer Re: Do wish he would return to earlier form, and give Klubnik***
Native
spacer That is the most F i have seen my Thermodynamics class***
jba6ch®
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
Just_Sayin
spacer You are so correct...and the short passes that were below
longtallsam®
spacer Davy Crockett seeking bounce after rough Alamo.***
Obed®
spacer Luke Skywalker trying to grow a new hand.***
ClemsonTiger1988®
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
RememberTheDanny
spacer RememberTheDanny
Ryan_Kantor®
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Tigerfam1997
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ddclemson
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gottigers81
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gottigers81
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Clemgalalways®
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clemson2003
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
MoneyMakerMike
spacer Surely the staff would have scrambled if they knew DJ was incapable
clemson man7®
spacer Re: Surely the staff would have scrambled if they knew DJ was incapable
Clemgalalways®
spacer F***
TGRRAG®
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
OneChristianGuy
spacer Grade is an F or D- if grading really nice
SocMan2®
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
JPF16®
spacer Re: i would suggest
clemvol
spacer I hope he bounces back like a WHAM-O Superball.
76er®
spacer Re: TNET: Final Grades: DJ Uiagalelei seeking bounce back after rough 2021
agent k
spacer As a spot holder I'd give him an A+.
ClemsonTiger1988®
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Teletiger73
spacer The substitution choices are on Dabo, TE, and Streeter
Obed®
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ESSOCU
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NkyTigersFan1
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Stillapirate
spacer Excellent, balanced data-driven article, Ryan!***
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allinallorangeallthetime52®

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