The collective stomachs of Clemson fans sunk on Thursday night after it was revealed that star quarterback – and projected 2021 No. 1 overall NFL draft pick – Trevor Lawrence had tested positive for COVID-19 and would miss this week’s game against Boston College.
Per guidelines from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), which No. 1 ranked Clemson is a part of, Lawrence must isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms or a positive test before returning to football activity.
Obviously, Clemson was dealt a big blow losing Lawrence, but there is hope on the depth chart in the form of D.J. Uiagalelei, a highly recruited true freshman who entered Clemson with his own share of hype.
Here’s what you need to know about Uiagalelei ahead of his first career NCAA start – which can be seen at noon ET Saturday on TSN1 – against Boston College.
He was ranked as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback
Uiagalelei, who hails from Bellflower, Calif., was ranked as the No. 1 dropback passer in the recruiting class of 2020 by all the major recruiting services and was viewed as a top 10 recruit overall. Lawrence, who Uiagalelei is stepping in for on Saturday, was also ranked as the No. 1 dropback passer in his class.
Over his high school career, Uiagalelei threw for 10,496 yards and had 127 touchdowns against just 11 interceptions. He also rushed 1,103 yards and added another 18 touchdowns.
He has size
While Uiagalelei (6-foot-4) isn’t quite as tall as the 6-foot-6 Lawrence, he’s bigger than him weight-wise. Lawrence has a slender build, being officially listed as 220 pounds by Clemson, while Uiagalelei is more solidly built, being an eye-popping 250 pounds. People in football circles traditionally prefer bigger quarterbacks as they’re seen as being better equipped to handle the physical punishment that comes with being hit in the pocket.
“He has everything that the great ones we’ve had (had), just bigger,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said of Uiagalelei last December via USA Today. “He’s not 6-6 like Trevor, but none of those guys were 240 pounds, and he can run as well as anybody we’ve had. Just a special young man. Just a very humble young man. No entitlement. No drama.”
He has some NCAA experience
Saturday will be Uiagalelei’s first career start, but the first-year player has already seen action in five of Clemson’s six games this season.
One of the benefits of being a backup on the top team in college football is that Clemson often blows out teams, which affords opportunities for the backups to step in and get some game reps. Uiagalelei has gone 12-of-19 this season for 102 yards passing and has added 32 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
It also bears noting that the true freshman won the backup job by beating out Taisun Phommachanh, who enrolled at Clemson a year ahead of Uiagalelei.
He was a high school baseball star
At one point in time during his high school career, it wasn’t clearer whether Uiagalelei’s future laid on the gridiron or on the baseball diamond.
As a pitcher, he reportedly has a fastball that reaches the mid-90s, and according to recruiting service Perfect Game, Uiagalelei is also capable of playing first base, third base and outfield.
In the past, there was discussion that Uiagalelei could be a top pick in the MLB draft. In September, however, he told reporters that he “most likely” won’t play baseball, choosing instead to focus solely on football.
In Pictures: Diego Armando Maradona, 1960-2020 | Latin America – Aljazeera.com
Diego Armando Maradona, who was one of history’s best football players and who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title, has died after suffering a heart attack at the age of 60.
With an illustrious club career at Italian side Napoli and Spanish giants Barcelona, among others, Maradona captivated fans worldwide over a two-decade period.
Although his reputation was tarnished by his addictions, he remained idolised in Argentina as the “Pibe de Oro” or “Golden Boy” and by football fans globally.
The number 10 that he wore on his jersey became synonymous with him, as it also had with Pele, the Brazilian great with whom Maradona was regularly paired as the most skilled of all time.
Tributes for ‘legendary’ Diego Maradona pour in from around sports world – Sportsnet.ca
Diego Maradona’s sudden death at the age of 60 shook the world, let alone soccer and sports as a whole, to its core on Wednesday.
The Argentine legend, who won the World Cup in 1986 and who guided Napoli to new heights in the late 1980s and early 1990s, was so revered that there was a literal deity named after him. Hundreds, if not thousands, of newborn boys in Naples were named after Maradona thanks to his heroics.
Maradona clearly influenced so many lives, which is what led to an outpouring of tributes for one of the greatest players of all-time.
Cristiano Ronaldo posted a tribute on social media to his late friend Diego Maradona pic.twitter.com/TaTESVRsjT
— ESPN (@espn) November 25, 2020
— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) November 25, 2020
Always in our hearts
Ciao, Diego pic.twitter.com/I2gTWqdtdB
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) November 25, 2020
Eternas gracias. Eterno Diego. pic.twitter.com/SZVNOJnZ1j
— Boca Jrs. Oficial (desde ) (@BocaJrsOficial) November 25, 2020
Personally, I never knew Diego Armando Maradona and only got to watch the end of him as a player but always a felt a connection to him because I was named after him. Watched many of his videos. What a talent he was.
Descansa en paz Diego. 10 pic.twitter.com/D6V5HK66hn
— Diego Montalvan (@DMontalvan) November 25, 2020
The poor kid from the slums with a massive heart who took on the whole establishment & beat them
What Maradona did for Napoli & Naples will never be matched anywhere else
And what he did for Argentina will never be matched by another internationally
R.I.P GOAT pic.twitter.com/viSVYP0uGO
— Carlo Garganese (@carlogarganese) November 25, 2020
Jorge Valdano said it perfectly…”Beyond everything else,no football ever had a better experience than when it was #diegomaradona`s left foot.”
We will never see a greater footballer. Ever. Football cries for you Diego.
— Ray Hudson (@RayHudson) November 25, 2020
Football legend Diego Maradona dies at 60 – Al Jazeera English
One of the greatest footballers of all time, Maradona passed away aged 60 after suffering a heart attack in Tigre, Argentina.
Argentinian Football legend Diego Maradona, one of the greatest players all time, has died after suffering a heart attack.
He was 60.
Argentina President Alberto Fernandez declared three days of national mourning following Maradona’s death in the city of Tigre on Wednesday.
“You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy,” the president tweeted.
Maradona, who in 1986 led Argentina to a World Cup triumph, had a history of health problems.
Earlier this month, he underwent successful brain surgery for a blood clot in a specialist private clinic in the capital, Buenos Aires.
Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo, reporting from Buenos Aires, said people were “just getting used to the idea that he (Maradona) will no longer be here”.
“People have been saying that Maradona made them cry out of happiness because he helped them win the World Cup … now, they will be crying out of pain,” Bo said.
‘We are in mourning’
Retired Brazilian football star Pele mourned the Argentinean icon’s death.
“Sad news to lose a friend like that. May God give enough strength to his family. For sure, one day we will kick a ball together in heaven,” he said in a brief statement.
In 2001, FIFA named Maradona one of the two greatest in the sport’s history, alongside Pele.
Former team-mate and Argentine player Osvaldo Ardiles said Maradona was the “best football player in the history of football”.
“Thank dear Dieguito for your friendship, for your football, sublime, without comparison,” Ardiles posted on Twitter.
“Simply, the best football player in the history of football. So many enjoyable moments together. Impossible to say which one was the best. RIP my dear friend.”
Italian football club Napoli, based in the city of Naples, said the death of its former player was a “devastating blow” for both the city and the club.
The world awaits our words but there are no words to describe the pain we’re going through. Now is the time to grieve.
Diego 💙 pic.twitter.com/40TTOIDNQ4
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) November 25, 2020
“We are in mourning,” said club spokesman Nicola Lombardo. “We feel like a boxer who has been knocked out. We are in shock.”
Maradona played for Napoli between 1984 and 1991, helping the city win its first Serie A league title.
Hours after his death, Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris said the city’s football stadium should be renamed to honour Maradona.
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