DJ Uiagalelei Oregon State Beavers quarterback DJ Uiagalelei warm ups before the annual rivalry game against Oregon on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.

D.J. Uiagalelei returned to his West Coast roots and played a single season in Corvallis before entering the NCAA Transfer Portal. He thought he had found a good match with the Beavers, but his now-former head coach, Jonathan Smith, left for the Michigan State head coaching job in East Lansing.

Now, Uiagalelei will return to a conference that is all too familiar. The veteran signal-caller, who hails from Inland Empire, California, announced this week that he will take his talents to Florida State. With Jordan Travis exhausting his eligibility and leaving for the 2024 NFL Draft and Tate Rodemaker electing to transfer, Uiagalelei saw a clear pathway to becoming the starting quarterback for the Seminoles and decided to take the opportunity.

In an exclusive interview with On3, Uiagalelei opened up on his decision. Ultimately, the former Clemson Tigers quarterback never envisioned that he’d end up back in the portal, but that’s the nature of the current college football landscape, for better or worse.

“Like for me, man, that was my funnest year of playing football,” he told On3 as he reflected on this past season with the Beavers.

In mid-December, the quarterback visited Tallahassee, meeting with head coach Mike Norvell and offensive coordinator Alex Atkins in person. Despite waiting for a decision from Washington State transfer Cam Ward, who eventually chose the NFL Draft, this is where Uiagalelei needed to be.

“For me, this is where I want to be,” he said. “I was talking to other schools and stuff like that, but for the most part, I was 100% locked in on Florida State. Knew when I put my name in the portal, they reached out to me, that’s where I want to be. I feel like this is the best fit; I prayed about it, and I was just letting God handle it for me. Definitely felt like that’s where he wanted me to be it, so I’m glad it worked out.”

Uiagalelei also told On3 that Travis played a part in his decision to commit to Norvell’s program as he looks to boost his draft stock with a College Football Playoff contender. While looking forward to returning to the ACC, he stopped short of talking about facing his former team, which is set to take place in 2024.


About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.