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July 22, 2021

D.J. Uiagalelei

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Clemson Tigers

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. For you last season the couple games you got to get into when Trevor was out, what are your takeaways to go back to that film, what you can say about stepping into this season as the true leader?

D.J. UIAGALELEI: Some things I would definitely say was definitely a true blessing to be able to get some starts into the game last season. I got a whole week of preparation becoming the starting quarterback, be able to get into that Notre Dame film.

Definitely a lot of things I can take from last year. I learned a lot backing up Trevor, seeing the way he runs the field, see the way he just treats off the field, too. He's the true definition of a professional in my eyes. That's why I think I could take from Trevor last year, learning from different games. There's a lot of stuff that I'll be taking from him, taking from my own experiences.

Q. What do you feel with Trevor Lawrence leaving, you now being the signal caller? What do you bring that's unique from Trevor in your skill set?

D.J. UIAGALELEI: Some things I feel like are definitely unique, I think I'm a little bit bigger, heavier than Trevor. About 250 pounds. That might be something a little bit more unique.

Trevor does a lot of great things. But I feel like our games are a little bit similar. I like to throw the deep ball a lot. I like to see how far I can throw it in a game. That might be one big thing.

I feel like for the most part there's not a lot of differences, but we just both like to play football.

Q. Tell me about your approach to the opportunities via NIL in general and specifically the deal announced yesterday with Bojangles, how you got into that, if that was a recent discovery for you?

D.J. UIAGALELEI: No, definitely, Bojangles is definitely a recent discovery. California, we don't have Bojangles down there. I remember one thing coming down here to the South, one thing I definitely learned is Jesus is number one here, then it goes football, and then it goes down people love Bojangles down here (smiling).

My approach with the NIL is that I don't want -- I signed with a marketing agency, VaynerSports, with AJ Vaynerchuk and Gary V. The whole idea of that was to make sure my goal is I want to be a student-athlete. So school comes first. I want to graduate. I want to be a football player second. I want to make sure all my focus is on those two. In my off time I can have people worry about my branding, NIL and stuff like that. That's how I'm treating the NIL.

Q. In six weeks or so you're going to be a few blocks away from here going against Georgia. College GameDay will be there. You've played big games. How do you feel all of those experiences will prepare you for walking into that stadium on September 4th against another top five program?

D.J. UIAGALELEI: I think all the experience will definitely help out. Playing in big games, high school played in a lot of big games. Nowhere near the magnitude with the game we're about to play, full capacity stadium. I think in high school played in front of 15,000. I like big games, I like the big moments. Really doesn't get me too nervous.

We're going to play a great team in Georgia. I'm super excited about being able to play them in Charlotte.

Q. Last year you said to came to Clemson to sit behind Trevor Lawrence like Aaron Rodgers did with Brett Favre. What did you learn from Trevor that you can take into this year?

D.J. UIAGALELEI: There's a bunch of stuff. I think the one thing I'll touch on is how to become a true professional of the game off the field. The way Trevor handled different things off the field, how he dealt with media, how he dealt going around town. He couldn't be like himself, he had to uphold to a Clemson quarterback where he maybe couldn't do the regular things that a college athlete or college student couldn't do.

He couldn't go down to Chipotle and get some food or it would turn into an autograph session, just different things like that, things about how to become a true professional of the game.

Q. This isn't much of a question, but with you getting that new Bojangles deal, I would look forward to having a (inaudible) meal deal, a $5 chicken supreme box, if you would consider that.

D.J. UIAGALELEI: That would be a super cool thing. I think that would definitely work. I have to talk to Bojangles about that (laughter).


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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