An unfamiliar face will be seen this weekend in downtown Clemson. Newcomer D.J. Uiagalelei will replace Trevor Lawrence, who tested positive for coronavirus.
The Tigers, who are 6-0 and ranked #1 in the AP Top 25 poll, will host Boston College on Saturday before traveling to Indiana on November 7, where they will play Notre Dame #4 on November 7.
Lawrence underwent a coronavirus test on Wednesday, which puts his availability against Notre Dame in question, as the rules established by the Atlantic Coast Conference state that players who test positive for COVID-19 must be isolated for at least 10 days after testing before they can return to practice as long as they do not show symptoms.
“Trevor has authorized us tonight to announce that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation,” Clemson’s coach Dabo Swinney said in a statement released Thursday night.
“He is doing well with mild symptoms, but he will not be available for the game against Boston College this week.
“We will certainly miss Trevor, but this is an opportunity for other boys to move up, and we look forward to playing against a very good BC team on Saturday. Go Tigers”.
Playing without Lawrence will be an unusual experience for Clemson, as the Heisman Trophy leader has never missed a game with the Tigers in three seasons – he was substituted for the Tigers in the first half against Syracuse on his first start in 2018 due to injury.
Uiagalelei will take the reins of Clemson’s offensive this weekend, having had limited activity this season. He has never started a game for Clemson, and all of his appearances will be in games where Swinney has replaced Lawrence with the Tigers, who are at the top of the scoreboard.
The 19-year-old has played 12 of 19 passes for 102 yards and has eight carries for 32 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
The 6-5 year old, 245-pound quarterback played high school football for the St. John Bosco Power Program in Bellflower, California and was named USA Today National Player of the Year in his junior year.
Uiagalelei passed over 10,000 yards and threw 127 touchdowns and 11 interceptions during his school career and was ranked the nation’s No. 43 Recruit and No. 1 Pocket Passer-by in the ESPN Recruitment Ranking 2020.
According to the composite ranking of 247Sports, he ranked 10th overall in the 2020 Recruiting Class and was the highest rated pro-style quarterback in his recruiting class.
Uiagalelei was California’s third largest contender this year behind quarterback Bryce Young and linebacker Justin Flowe, who were recruited from Alabama and Oregon respectively.
However, replacing Lawrence will not be an easy task. In the first six weeks of the season, Lawrence threw 1,833 yards and 17 touchdowns, playing 71 percent of his passes and scoring 143 yards and four touchdowns.
Since taking on the starting job in the middle of his first year, Lawrence has set a 30-1 record – his only defeat was against LSU in the national championship game of the College Football Playoffs last season – and is widely expected to be the first overall winner of the 2021 NFL Draft.