Well-traveled DJ Uiagalelei struggles to settle in as QB1 at FSU.

DJ Uiagalelei, who transferred from Oregon State to replace Jordan Travis this offseason, drops back to pass during Florida State spring practice. (Bob Ferrante/Special to the Orlando Sentinel)

 

 

 

 

TALLAHASSEE — DJ Uiagalelei has played in 47 college games and thrown for 8,319 yards. He’s learned different offenses at Clemson and Oregon State. But in his final season of college football, he’s enjoying a new challenge at Florida State.

 

“I’m an older guy,” Uiagalelei said. “I’ve played in a little bit of games, but it’s my first days in the offense. There are guys that have been in the offense for over a year now, know this offense a lot more than me. I try to look at them, ask them questions.”

 

 

 

This is the dynamic for one of college football’s top transfers, an experienced mentor as well as a new guy learning his third playbook. But it’s a relationship that works for him as well as a room full of freshmen quarterbacks, with Brock Glenn the only one who has played at FSU. There’s also true freshmen Luke Kromenhoek and Trever Jackson, an Orlando native, but Uiagalelei is viewed as the front runner to grab the starting job in his final year of college football while helping Glenn prepare for the future.

 

What Uiagalelei brings to the table was evident at Clemson and Oregon State, a 6-foot-4 frame that has zip on the ball to the far side of the field as well as can slingshot a deep pass. In the first few days of FSU’s practices, Uiagalelei showed he’s still building rhythm and timing in the passing game.

 

The relationships are building and he’s often accurate, but at other times a missed connection on high-percentage short passes pop up (it’s one of the question marks as his completion percentage was just 57.1 in 2023 at Oregon State). Deep passes look almost effortless, and he’s often thrown it on time to an FSU receiving corps that has added speed through the transfer portal and has developed talented, fast younger players, too.

Gideon Canice

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