Before Monday night, not many people knew who Tua Tagovailoa was.
On Tuesday morning, everyone can’t stop talking about him.
A day after throwing a 41-yard pass in overtime to win the national championship over Georgia, everyone is trying to figure out who this athletic quarterback is and why did Nick Saban wait so long to play him.
Here are some quick facts about the Alabama quarterback.
1. He Was Only A Four-Star Recruit Out Of Hawaii
Tagovailoa was recruited by many major programs coming out of high school, with names like USC, Florida, Michigan and his home state of Hawaii wanting his talent. However, the four-star recruit and third best quarterback from the class of 2017 wanted a shot at a national championship, so he went with Alabama, despite USC being his dream school.
2. He Went To The Same High School As Marcus Mariota
Tagovailoa has a few things in common with that other star quarterback out of Hawaii. Not only are the two of Polynesian decent, but they both went to the same high school, Saint Louis School. He could’ve made that bond even closer if he had accepted an offer to play for Oregon, but he must’ve wanted to carve his own legacy.
3. What Took Nick Saban So Long?
With the Tide down by 13 at halftime, Saban needed a spark from his offense. Here’s what he had to say about the decision to start Tagovailoa at halftime.
“We’ve had this in our mind that if we were struggling offensively, that we would give Tua an opportunity, even in the last game,” Saban said. “No disrespect to Jalen, but the real thought was, you know, they came into the game thinking we were going to run the ball and be able to run quarterback runs, which we made a couple of explosive plays on. But with the absence of a passing game and being able to make explosive plays and being able to convert on third down, I didn’t feel we could run the ball well enough, and I thought Tua would give us a better chance and a spark, which he certainly did.
“I couldn’t be prouder of him taking advantage of the opportunity. We have total confidence in him. We played him a lot in a lot of games this year, and he did very well.”
4. Football Runs In The Family
Tua is not the only one in the family that can sling the football. His brother, Taulia, is currently the 9th best dual quarterback in the class of 2019 and holds a scholarship offer from Alabama. Maybe we’ll see the wildcat next year in Tuscaloosa?
5. So What’s Next For Tua?
Time will tell. It’s hard to turn back to Jalen Hurts after watching the true freshman spark your team to a national championship, but it gives Saban a nice problem at quarterback. He can’t really go wrong with either player, but my hunch is that Tagovailoa will be the starter next season. Watching the kid play and show the type of poise he did, it would be hard to put him on the bench. Even former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin told the Dan Patrick Show he thinks he’ll be the starter… in not so many words.
Lane Kiffin said he has "no doubt" that Tua Tagovailoa would have transferred after this season if he didn't play last night. Added that Tua wouldn't risk sitting another year behind Hurts.
— Paul Pabst (@PaulPabst) January 9, 2018
Regardless if he rides the bench or starts, he’s gotten the attention of the entire country, including 5th Harmony singer Dinah Jane.
Wow !!!! The turnover was crazy to watch 😱😱 had everybody’s jaw dropped! congrats @Tuaamann_ way to come through with the win man !!! Love seeing polys on the rise ✊🏽 leggooo xx
— ♕DinahJane (@dinahjane97) January 9, 2018
Keep on turning heads, Tua.