Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Steelers will not be replacing Ben Roethlisberger in 2023 with Clemson football player D.J. Uiagalelei, as the Tigers signal-caller just got benched vs. Pitt.
As with Spencer Rattler at Oklahoma, this year has not gone according to plan for Uiagalelei at traditional power Clemson. The thought was Pittsburgh could move up to draft either quarterback prospect to replace Big Ben. These guys carried No. 1 overall pick potential in 2022 and 2023 respectively, but it seems as though transferring feels like a foregone conclusion at this point.
Simply put, Uiagalelei is not going to be a top draft-eligible prospect heading into spring 2023.
Pittsburgh Steelers are not replacing Ben Roethlisberger with D.J. Uiagalelei
While Uiagalelei could prove everyone wrong by transferring back home to USC and lighting the Pac-12 on fire heading into the 2023 NFL Draft, what has anyone seen out of him this year that would indicate it being capable of happening? Clemson does not lose football games under Dabo Swinney, but they are about to lose three Power Five games a week before Halloween arrives.
Admittedly, there was a very narrow pathway to begin with for Uiagalelei to be Roethlisberger’s long-term successor. He needed to ball out at Clemson in his two years as the Tigers’ starter. Roethlisberger would need to play in 2022 as well. Pittsburgh would also need to be in position to trade up to draft a promising prospect like Uiagalelei. Right now, this just feels like an impossibility.
Pittsburgh will replace Roethlisberger at some point, but odds are Uiagalelei will not be his heir.