Uiagalelei, once regarded as the brightest potential star in college football, will be able to transfer to another program at some point between December 5 and January 18.
The junior started in all of Clemson's games during the past two seasons, but was benched for true freshman Cade Klubnik early in the Tigers' ACC Championship Game win against North Carolina on Saturday (December 3) night, with head coach Dabo Swinney naming Klubnik as the starter hours before the team's Orange Bowl matchup against Tennessee was announced on Sunday.
"Moving forward, Cade will be the starter going in, and DJ will be the backup,” Swinney said after the ACC Championship Game via 247Sports. “We'll keep moving forward, and I'm sure there will be plenty of conversations — [Uiagalelei] graduates in a week or so, so he's got a bright future. He's got a bright future. Obviously, it didn't end tonight the way he would like, but he's got a bright, bright future as a football player.”
Uiagalelei rated as a five-star prospect and ranked as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback, No. 3 player from the state of California and No. 10 overall prospect for the 2019 national recruiting cycle prior to signing with Clemson.
The Riverside native initially served as a backup to Trevor Lawrence during his first season and took over ahead of the 2021 season, having been heralded as a preseason Heisman Trophy favorite and one of college football's top NIL endorsement earners.
Uiagalelei struggled during his first season as Clemson's starting quarterback, throwing more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (9) and completing just 55.6% of his passes.
The 21-year-old improved during the 2022 season, but the Tigers' offense halted during key stretches, which led to Klubnik being inserted on multiple occasions.
Uiagalelei's decision may also reportedly be swayed by where his younger brother, Matayo, chooses to play next season.
Matayo Uiagalelei rates as a five-star prospect and ranks as the No. 6 edge rusher, No. 4 player from the state of California and No. 32 overall prospect for the 2023 national recruiting cycle, with reported interest in Ohio State, Oregon, USC and Alabama, with the Buckeyes, Ducks and Crimson Tide needing to replace quarterbacks in 2023.
Clemson has already lost two players to the transfer portal with Fred Davis and E.J. Williams both announcing their intent to leave the program on Sunday night.