When Georgia and Clemson clash Saturday evening in Charlotte, quarterbacks JT Daniels and D.J. Uiagalelei will be nearly 2,500 miles away from their Southern California homes. Just forgive them if the environment feels a bit familiar.
After all, this is the third time in their careers they’ll occupy the same field.
Daniels piloted Mater Dei High School as a junior in 2017. Some 30 minutes away, Uiagalelei, a sophomore, played for St. John Bosco High School. Those programs have won a combined five high school national championships since 2013, making their annual matchup (they also usually play a playoff game) must-see events.
“Honestly, it’s not high school football,” St. John Bosco head coach Jason Negro told 247Sports. “It’s basically college football with younger kids.”
While Daniels and Uiagalelei are separated by just one year in age, those 2017 matchups saw them in much different places. At the time, Daniels was the No. 1 overall QB prospect in the 2019 class, a superstar who’d go on to win Gatorade National Player of the Year. Uiagalelei on the other hand was making his first career start against Daniels and Mater Dei, lifted suddenly into the starting role against the nation's top overall team.
“In youth football (JT) was a top dog,” DJ’s father, David Uiagalelei told 247Sports. “We always noticed what JT was doing.”
Said Daniels at SEC Media Days: “We were each other’s rivals.”
As Daniels and Uiagalelei prepare for College Football Playoff pushes, 247Sports is taking a look back at where both quarterbacks were in 2017 when Mater Dei twice beat St. John Bosco on the way to a national title.