Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei will be the first active NCAA football player to be featured in Dr. Pepper's 'Fansville' ad campaign during the upcoming 2021 season, the company announced in a press release on Wednesday (August 11).
Uiagalelei will be the only active player featured in the commercial series, which centers around a fictional college football-obsessed town.
"We're thrilled to have DJ on board for one of Dr Pepper's most exciting campaigns of the year," said Andrew Springate, Chief Marketing Officer for Keurig Dr Pepper. "A universally loved Heisman Trophy contender who embodies true sportsmanship, DJ is exactly what fans deserve this season. He's also the star of one of the most formidable college football teams in the NCAA whose faithful fans revel in longstanding traditions. This passion is the iconic embodiment of fandom and everything Dr Pepper 'Fansville' represents."
Financial terms between Uiagalelei and Dr. Pepper were not disclosed in the press release.
The Clemson quarterback had previously agreed to an advertising partnership with Bojangles, a national fast-food fried chicken chain based in Charlotte, N.C., to make appearances and share content on social media promoting the restaurant.
The NCAA announced a rule change allowing athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness beginning on July 1, 2021, "suspending NCAA name, image and likeness rules for all incoming and current student-athletes in all sports" in a news release shared on its official website on June 30.
"For me, NIL has been a great opportunity to be able to work with brands, to be able to do stuff like this," Uiagalelei said told ESPN after announcing his partnership with Bojangles. "If I was playing college football five years ago, I wouldn't be able to do this. It's a great opportunity for people now to be able to build off their brand, make money and work on different partnerships like Dr Pepper. I'm super excited about it."
Uiagalelei is a preseason Heisman Trophy favorite after making sporadic appearances in the absence of former Clemson quarterback and eventual No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick Trevor Lawrence -- who missed two games after testing positive for COVID-19 -- during his true freshman season.
Uiagalelei threw for 914 yards and five touchdowns on 78 of 117 passing in nine appearances in 2020.
The sophomore rated as a five-star prospect and ranked as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback, No. 3 player from the state of California and No. 10 overall prospect for the 2020 national recruiting cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite.