Swinney emphatically supports DJ Uiagalelei at ACC Media Days

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei shows his suit as he answers a question during an NCAA...
Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei shows his suit as he answers a question during an NCAA college football news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Media Days in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)(Nell Redmond | AP)
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 7:44 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX Carolina) - With the college football season about a month away from kicking off, teams from the Atlantic Coastal Conference took to Charlotte to talk about the upcoming season.

Clemson was represented by head coach Dabo Swinney, quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, offensive tackle Jordan McFadden and defensive end KJ Henry at the event.

First on the mic was Swinney. He was asked about a wide array of topics, including the NIL impact on college football. The topic most covered was about last years starter, DJ Uiagalelei.

The signal-caller saw his fair share of problems in his first year as the starting quarterback. Uiagalelei finished the 2021 campaign having thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. Despite the spotty performance, Swinney gave his vote of confidence to Uiagalelei.

“All he has ever done is win, and now all of a sudden it’s disappointment, there’s adversity, challenges, and some criticism. How do you respond?” Swinney said. “It’s disappointing. Next thing you know, people question you, and maybe you lose a little confidence or you try to do too much. That’s all part of maturing. He is going to play football for a long time.”

“My second year as the head coach. I won six games. There was a lot of people on the message boards wanting me gone. Right? Then next year we won the ACC for the first time in 20 years.”

“I got a lot of confidence in DJ. Going to graduate in December. Unbelievable young man on and off the field. One of the best leaders that we’ve had come through. Incredibly committed.”

“He has some scars on him and some shrapnel and some wounds. That’s going to serve him well as he goes into this year. So it’s a game of performance, and you can’t change that.”

When Uiagalelei took the mic, he talked about how the adversity he faced in 2021 has fueled him to be better this season.

“I think for the most part what I learned from last season is the experience of just getting a comfortability level and going through a whole season and being able to be a starter the whole season,” Uiagalelei said. “Being a starter for a whole season instead of just playing starter for two games as my freshman year taught me a lot about how to manage it, how to manage everything, how to manage media, manage going into preparation of a game, going through just the whole season I feel like for the most part. That was the biggest thing I learned.”

Clemson’s football season starts Monday, September 5th as the Tigers take on Georgia Tech.