The 2022 college football season is quickly approaching and we have preseason Heisman Trophy odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Today we’ll look at Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, who will try to take a major leap forward this season.
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Uiagalelei enters the season with +4500 odds to win the award. He sits just ahead of fellow Heisman dark horses in Kentucky quarterback Will Levis and NC State quarterback Devin Leary.
Clemson experienced a "down" 10-3 season in 2021 and a part of that can be attributed to the struggles of Uiagalelei at quarterback. Taking the reigns from Trevor Lawrence, the former five-star prospect from southern California had a less than stellar first year as a starter. He completed just 55.6% of his passes for 2,246 yards, nine touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He also provided an additional 308 yards and four TD's on the ground.
DJU will be under pressure to produce early in the season considering that Clemson signed No. 1 rated quarterback Cade Klubnik in their last recruiting class. Some are already projecting the freshman from Austin to overtake Uiagalelei at some point this year, similar to how the aforementioned Lawrence took the starting job from Kelly Bryant as a freshman.
What does D.J. Uiagalelei need to do to win the Heisman Trophy?
Uiagalelei must come firing out of the gate to not only be considered a Heisman contender, but to straight up save his job as the starter. Clemson opens the season with Georgia Tech, Louisiana Tech, and Furman, so that's three opportunities for him to put up big numbers.
A November 5 showdown at Notre Dame could potentially launch him into the stratosphere should he perform well and lead the Tigers to a victory in South Bend, IN. If he's able to march Clemson to an ACC Championship and a potential College Football Playoff berth from there, he'll have a good shot of hoisting the award in New York City.