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Sports >  WSU football

Taitai Uiagalelei, cousin of Clemson QB, becomes first Washington State commit in two months

UPDATED: Tue., Sept. 7, 2021

Washington State cheerleaders run across the field during the second half of an NCAA college football game between Washington State and Utah State, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.  (Associated Press)
Washington State cheerleaders run across the field during the second half of an NCAA college football game between Washington State and Utah State, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Pullman, Wash. (Associated Press)

The last name might be familiar. The player? Not so much.

Washington State picked up its first commitment since the last week of June when Taitai Uiagalelei, a defensive lineman from Southern California, announced Tuesday he’d be joining the Cougars’ 2022 class.

Most will recognize the last name of WSU’s newest pledge. Uiagalelei is cousins with Clemson starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei and his brother Matayo Uiagalelei, the nation’s No. 1 edge rusher in the class of 2023, but Taitai has largely flown under the radar during his recruiting process.

Uiagalelei visited Pullman for WSU’s season opener against Utah State and announced his commitment just three days later. Two other FBS programs have offered the Mater Dei product: the USU team that sprung a 26-23 upset win over WSU on Saturday and fellow Mountain West rival UNLV.

Because he’s still relatively unknown among national recruiting services, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Uiagalelei hasn’t received a star rating from 247Sports.com and only appeared in four of Mater Dei’s five games in the spring as a backup defensive lineman. According to MaxPreps.com, Uiagalelei played in four games and recorded five total tackles with one tackle for loss as a sophomore on Mater Dei’s varsity team.

Uiagalelei seemingly projects as an edge rusher at the next level and becomes the second edge to commit to WSU in the class of 2022, joining Jakobus Seth of Lakewood High in Arlington, Washington. The Cougars’ 2022 class is up to eight .

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