Who is Tu’a Tagovailoa, Alabama’s Hawaiian sensation?


At halftime of the College Football Playoff National Championship game in Atlanta, Alabama head coach Nick Saban was having a rough time. Down 13-0 going into the break, the Crimson Tide rushing game had been completely shut down by Georgia’s stout front seven, and their passing game just could not get going. So Saban made a bold decision- pull out starting quarterback Jalen Hurts and bring in backup Tu’a Tagovailoa. Two-quarters of football later and the game is 20-20. Then in overtime, after having been sacked for a 17-yard loss, Tagovailoa throws a 41-yard bomb downfield for the end zone for Devonta Smith. Ballgame. But who is this rising sophomore, and what will happen with the ‘Bama QB battle in the offseason? Here are some interesting facts about him:

  • He was born in Ewa Beach, Hawaii in 1998, and played high school football at a school called St. Louis High School in Honolulu. Many NFL players have played at St. Louis High School. Centers Olin Kreutz, Max Unger, and Dominic Raiola, Defensive Tackle Tyson Alualu, and Mariota all hail from that school.
  • He threw for the most passing yards in Hawaii high school history with over 8400 passing yards, to go along with 84 passing TDs, and upwards of 1700 rush yards with 12 rushing TDs. He was listed as the #22 overall player in the 2017 class, and the #1 Dual-Threat QB. He chose to go to Alabama over other schools like Oregon, UCLA, and USC.
  • He is very well acquainted with Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota went. They went to the same schools as kids, and they have been friends since Mariota was in fourth grade. Tagovailoa almost chose Oregon over Alabama because Mariota went there.
  • He is left-handed, which is uncommon for modern NFL quarterbacks (only one QB in the NFL right now, Detroit Lions backup Kellen More, is left-handed).
  • After his emergent game against Georgia, the 19-year-old is now the favorite to be Bama’s QB in the 2018 season. However, he will have to fend off competition from rising junior and two-year starter Jalen Hurts.

One month ago, Tagovailoa was not very well known, just Jalen Hurts’ backup. But every single day, he worked to become better. Worked to become Alabama’s star. Then, his chance came, and he never looked back.