Ex-Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei expected to transfer to Oregon State

Former Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei is expected to announce a transfer to Oregon State.

Reports began circulating Friday night, first by ESPN’s Pete Thamel, that Uiagalelei had found a home since he entered the NCAA portal a few days after being benched in the ACC Championship game.

It seems like a good fit.

Uiagalelei, a California native, would be back on the West Coast and closer to family. His younger brother, Matayo Uiagalelei, a five-star defensive end, signed this week with Oregon.

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DJ was rumored to be going to Oregon as well, especially if Matayo picked the Ducks over Ohio State and Southern Cal. For the older brother, it would’ve been a situation similar what Oregon did for Bo Nix, who struggled at Auburn but became an NFL prospect again with the Ducks. Nix, however, announced he would return to Oregon for one more season. Oregon also added four-star quarterback Austin Novosad during the early signing period.

Oregon State, meanwhile, seemed a quarterback away from making the Pac-12 Championship game. The Beavers lost to eventual league champion Utah, 10-win Washington and league runner-up Southern Cal.

Chance Nolan started the first five games for Oregon State but suffered a neck injury and is now in the transfer portal. Redshirt freshman Ben Gulbranson took over and finished with 1,455 passing yards with nine touchdowns and five interceptions.

Uiagalelei would have two years of eligibility and a favorable chance to earn the No. 1 spot for a Power Five team with plenty of upside. The Beavers went 10-3 in 2022 and beat Florida, 30-3, in the Las Vegas Bowl. 

Uiagalelei threw more interceptions than touchdown as a first-year starter in 2021. This season, he got off to a solid start and threw 22 touchdowns with seven interceptions, but he was just 10-for-34 in his last two games. Freshman Cade Klubnik was called in to lead Clemson to the ACC championship win against North Carolina.

Clemson (11-2) plays in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30 against Tennessee (10-2) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

Todd Shanesy covers Clemson athletics for the USA TODAY Network.

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