Oregon State quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei was compared to former Auburn football quarterback Bo Nix by Oregon Live’s Bill Oram — who believes that like the star ex-Tiger’s first year for in-state rival Oregon in 2022, Uiagalelei could become an instant star in Corvallis who makes the Beavers a contender in the Pac-12.
“Stop me if you’ve heard this one before,” Oram prefaced before saying, “A prominent quarterback falls out of favor at the college football powerhouse he was expected to lead to national championships. He finds a new home in the Pacific Northwest, where no one is quite sure which version they’re getting. The über-talented superstar? Or the damaged goods? A year ago those were the questions being asked about Oregon quarterback Bo Nix. And right about now you’d be feeling just as silly for wondering the same about Oregon State quarterback DJ Uiagalelei.”
Oram doesn’t try to make the case that Uiagalelei could become the sort of Heisman hopeful Nix has become in Eugene, but the comparison is hard not to ignore; down to the detail of both coming from a team called the Tigers in the southeast region of the country.
Ex-Auburn football QB Bo Nix facing more Pac-12 contenders than usual
In the final season of the Pac-12 as we know it, the predominantly west-coast conference is fielding more contenders than usual: USC, Utah, Oregon, and Washington in the first tier, with Oregon State and Colorado looking like potential contenders as well. Chip Kelly being at UCLA makes them a possible spoiler to any of these teams, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bruins flirt with the AP Top 25. Ditto for Wazzu if they can upset Wisconsin in Week 2.
Nix and the Ducks had a similarly deep level of competition last season, but this year’s Pac-12 has more punch with Boulder experiencing “Prime Time” and the Pac-2, Oregon State and Wazzu, both playing with an extra chip on their shoulders.
He overcomes this Pac-12 and wins the conference before Oregon makes the great Big Ten leap in 2024, and Nix has the best Heisman case in the country.