Spencer Rattler and D.J. Uiagalelei started this season as a pair of Heisman-hopeful stars. Now, they’re both sitting on the bench for their respective teams.
For the second game in a row this afternoon, Rattler spent the game on the sideline behind Oklahoma freshman Caleb Williams. While he was originally expected to see some time in a projected blowout against the Kansas Jayhawks today, an unexpectedly close contest kept the sophomore out of the game for the entire contest.
The Clemson Tigers have continued to ride with their sophomore QB through some offensive struggles, but today marked a breaking point for Dabo Swinney’s squad. After throwing two picks in today’s game against Pitt (4th and 5th of the season), Uiagalelei was benched for fellow sophomore Taisun Phommachanh.
At this point, any preseason projections and expectations have been thrown out the window.
The college football world had quite a bit to say about both of these QBs watching from the sidelines on Saturday.
Spencer Rattler and now DJ Uiagalelei. Man, preseason don’t mean nothing. Wasn’t nothing but NIL’s & talk.
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) October 23, 2021
So, DJ Uiagalelei just got benched.
Two weeks after Spencer Rattler got benched.
Tough month for everybody writing all those NIL checks
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) October 23, 2021
Remember when Spencer Rattler and Uiagalelei were favorites to win the Heisman this year… https://t.co/UqudbuF6sR
— Kayla Anderson (@KaylaAndersonTV) October 23, 2021
What were the betting odds on Spencer Rattler and DJ Uiagalelei both getting benched this season?
— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) October 23, 2021
DJ Uiagalelei just threw a touchdown pass… to Pitt.
Clemson becomes the first college program to bench someone with a national television commercial deal following this play
— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) October 23, 2021
First it was Spencer Rattler….now DJ Uiagalelei has been benched. They were 1-2 on the preseason Heisman list.
— Kevin Negandhi (@KevinNegandhi) October 23, 2021
Last year, Rattler lit up the NCAA with 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions through 11 games. Through limited time in six games this year, the preseason Heisman favorite has almost reached his 2020 interception total with five.
Backing up Trevor Lawrence last year, Uiagalelei stepped up in a big way for the team’s contest against Notre Dame when the Clemson QB1 tested positive for COVID-19. Despite falling to the Irish, the then true-freshman QB threw for 439 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions — grabbing the attention of the college football world.
With all the attention these guys garnered with their play last season, both were able to capitalize on the NCAA’s name, image and likeness (NIL) rules. But with the lights now shining directly on them, both are beginning to fade into the background.
With Uiagalelei on the bench, Clemson is trailing Pitt 27-17 with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.