DJ Lagway is a five-star quarterback recruit in the class of 2024 who’s drawn comparisons to the Chicago Bears’ Justin Fields.
He’s also a longtime Clemson football target who’s spoken glowingly in the past of the program’s familial vibes and “Christian-based atmosphere.”
So, is it a match?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Lagway, the No. 4 junior quarterback recruit in the country, is announcing his college commitment Wednesday afternoon at Willis High School in Texas. The ceremony is set for 3 p.m. Central (4 p.m. Eastern).
Clemson will have a hat on the table as one of five announced finalists but faces an unclear if not a slightly uphill battle to land the commitment of Lagway, who ranks as a top 25 national recruit in the 247Sports composite factoring in multiple rankings.
Florida is the favorite for Lagway, according to a Crystal Ball prediction filed Wednesday by 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong. Wiltfong, who’s correctly predicted nearly 4,000 commitments at a 91.5% rate, made the prediction with a “Medium” 6/10 confidence rating.
That’s the only formal prediction prescribed to Lagway at this point, though the On3 Sports Recruiting Prediction Machine and Rivals FutureCast metric also favor Florida over Clemson and Lagway’s other three reported finalists (Baylor, Southern Cal and Texas A&M).
Lagway’s father, former Baylor running back Derek Lagway, told On3 Sports on Wednesday that his son chose Clemson, “He’d be in good hands.”
The Tigers have been targeting Lagway since early 2022. He visited campus in April and June and circled back for a gameday visit on Oct. 22 to watch Clemson hold off Syracuse in the first matchup of undefeated teams 6-0 or better in Memorial Stadium history.
Lagway was also the first 2024 quarterback that Clemson offered. He announced an offer May 31 and was followed shortly afterward by Providence Day (N.C.) five-star QB Jadyn Davis, who announced his Clemson offer June 1.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, Lagway threw for 260.1 yards per game as a junior for Willis (5-5) with 24 touchdowns against five interceptions. He also rushed 50 times for 517 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 10.3 yards per carry, and completed 67% of his passes.
Lagway, who missed two games this season due to injury, has expressed an interest in playing baseball in college and holds a dual-sport scholarship offer from Florida.
The highly touted prospect – who only sits behind Ohio State commit Dylan Raiola, Alabama commit Julian Sayin and Davis in 247Sports’ QB rankings – announced a top 10 list of Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Southern Cal in September.
Lagway cut that list down to Baylor, Clemson, Florida, Southern Cal and Texas A&M after visiting all five schools earlier this fall. Even though he won’t sign his national letter of intent until next fall, he told 247Sports he’s committing early to give his future school a boost.
“I just feel like it’s time and time to build a No. 1 class and I’m ready to recruit for the school I’m choosing and get guys there and ready to recruit,” he told the website.
Clemson quarterback situation
By the end of this month, the Tigers will have signed five-star quarterbacks in consecutive recruiting classes ahead of Lagway. Five-star 2022 QB Cade Klubnik, also of Texas, served as DJ Uiagalelei’s backup until he seized control of the starting job in Saturday’s ACC championship win.
Head coach Dabo Swinney named Klubnik, a true freshman, as Clemson’s starter for the Dec. 30 Orange Bowl against Tennessee. Uiagalelei entered the transfer portal one day later.
Clemson also has a verbal commitment from five-star 2023 quarterback Christopher Vizzina of Alabama. Vizzina is expected to sign during the Dec. 21-23 early period and enroll mid-year at Clemson in January.
If the Tigers miss on Lagway and Davis (who currently has four Crystal Balls for Michigan), they’d drop to zero active quarterback offers in the class of 2024 and likely identify another recruit or two heading into the summer of 2023.
Clemson, which will sign a 23-player class of 2023 ranked second in the ACC and 10th nationally later this month, currently holds 2024 verbal commitments from four-star safety Tavoy Feagin and legacy kicker Nolan Hauser. Chris Sailer Kicking deems Hauser the No. 6 kicker in his class.