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#pounditMonday, July 15, 2024

Ex-Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei surprisingly gets picked in MLB Draft

DJ Uiagalelei talks with the media

Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei talks with media in Clemson, S.C., September 27, 2021. Ken Ruinard / staff via Imagn Content Services, LLC

DJ Uiagalelei officially has a backup option if the whole football thing fails to stick.

The former Clemson quarterback Uiagalelei, who has since transferred to Oregon State, was unexpectedly selected in the 20th and final round of the 2023 MLB Draft on Tuesday. Uiagalelei went No. 610 overall to the Los Angeles Dodgers (and is being listed as a two-way player).

The 22-year-old Uiagalelei has not played baseball since high school, giving it up to focus on football when he went to Clemson. But the tools are there as Uiagalelei, a pitcher in high school, was once said to have a 95 mph fastball.

“It would be a dream to be a relief pitcher,” Uiagalelei told Yahoo! Sports in 2019. “You only have to come in and throw an inning. You get paid to throw one inning a night. You don’t have to save energy. You can go all out.”

That was apparently good enough for the Dodgers, a hometown team of the Riverside, Calif. native Uiagalelei, to take a flier on him. Uiagalelei struggled at Clemson last season before losing the starting job to Cade Klubnik (and ultimately transferring). Now he is hoping for a fresh start at Oregon State with two years of eligibility left. If nothing else though, Uiagalelei becomes the latest big-name QB who can say that he was also drafted into MLB.

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