DJ Uiagalelei could finish redemption story with Florida State football in 2024

Oregon State Beavers quarterback DJ Uiagalelei warm ups before the annual rivalry game against
Oregon State Beavers quarterback DJ Uiagalelei warm ups before the annual rivalry game against / Abigail Dollins/Statesman Journal / USA

The rise and fall of DJ Uiagalelei with Clemson was well-documented. He was never truly "bad" with Clemson, but both sides felt the need to move on from each other after the 2022 season and it turned out to be for the best. And after a successful year with Oregon State, DJU is headed back to the ACC to finish his redemption story.

Although there's no bad blood between him and Clemson, joining a rival in Florida State football can't make Tiger fans too happy. It'll make them even angrier if he does better than he ever did at Clemson.

And that's all part of the plan.

Uiagalelei came in as a five-star freshman in 2020, replacing Trevor Lawrence for a couple of games when he was injured and he looked like a budding superstar. He finished with 914 yards and five touchdowns with no picks, completing 67 percent of his passes.

DJU was then given the reins of the offense when Lawrence left the following season for the NFL. His first year as a starter did not go as planned as he finished with 2,246 yards and just nine touchdowns with 10 interceptions and a lowly 56 percent completion rate. He bounced back the next season to pass for 2,521 yardsa and 22 touchdowns with seven picks and a career-high 62 percent completion rate, but Cade Klubnik was the shiny new toy that fans wanted to see elevate the offense.

So DJU hit the transfer portal and Jonathan Smith and Oregon State took him in. All he did there was improve, setting career-highs in yards, longest pass, and yards per attempt. His completion rate dipped back down to 57 percent but he had 2,638 yards and 21 touchdowns to just seven picks.

Now that he's headed back to the ACC as a rival of Clemson, DJU has a chance to complete this redemption arc and lead the reigning conference champs to another title. In doing so, he would likely boost that NFL draft stock that has dwindled over the years and he could be the perfect replacement to Jordan Travis.

It's not going to be easy, but if his progression has shown us anything, it's that he just needs the right coaching to succeed. And Florida State has just that.

I expect the redemption story to conclude with hardware in December and January.