With the announcement of the Clemson Tigers Trevor Lawrence as having tested positive for Covid-19, the attention turns immediately to the depth chart where the two freshmen have been backing up the consensus best player in college football in 2020.
Who are the men that will step in for the #1 team in America during Lawrence’s absence against Boston College this Saturday, and possibly beyond?
D.J. Uiagalelei comes from St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif., in Southern California’s Inland Empire area. It’s the same high school that produced Josh Rosen, current Falcons defensive tackle Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, and baseball stars such as Evan Longoria and Nomar Garciaparra. Their football rivalry with Mater Dei in Santa Ana is legendary, and so Uiagalelei has competed under intense pressure and scrutiny before.
Uiagalelei was listed as the #1 player America by PrepStar, was #2 ranked second according to Rivals.com behind Clemson teammate Bryan Bresee, and was the top QB in the country according to both services. His high school stats are patently absurd, with 10,496 yards in his career with 127 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, completing 66% of his passes.
And we know you might be wondering: The 19-year-old’s name is pronounced “ooh-ee-AHN-guh-luh-lay” according to Clemson.
If it got to the third-string for the #1 team in America, well that wouldn’t be so bad either. Taisun Phommachanh (pronounced Tyson PUMA-chon) was the No. 1 player in his home state of Connecticut according to ESPN.com and Rivals in the Class of 2019, and 247Sports had him as the third-best QB in the nation. He was 6-of-12 for 85 yards while backing up Lawrence and redshirting in 2019, with 12 carries for 56 yards.
For Avon Farms Old Prep in Bridgeport, he had 2,253 yards passing and 22 touchdowns with just one interception in 2017 before an injury-plagued senior season.