9. DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson
As Trevor Lawrence left for the NFL, it seemed obvious that Clemson would experience some decline at the quarterback position. With that said, Uiagalelei looked poised for a breakout 2021 season. When Lawrence missed time in 2020 due to COVID-19, Uiagalelei filled in, admirably.
Uiagalelei, in games against Boston College and Notre Dame (on the road), completed 59-of-85 pass attempts (69.4 percent) for 781 yards (9.2 yards per attempt), four touchdowns and no interceptions. Uiagalelei ran for one touchdown in each of those matchups, too.
The stage was set for Uiagalelei in 2021; however, after a brutal start to the season vs. a historically-good Georgia defense, the 6-foot-5 quarterback never found his footing. The processing was off; Clemson’s offense struggled to find a rhythm. By the end of the season, Uiagalelei completed just 55.6 percent of his pass attempts — for 2,246 yards (6.0 yards per attempt), nine touchdowns and six interceptions. He didn’t throw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter at any point of the season.