Getting to know Alabama's future star passer
Tua Tagovailoa quickly became a household name among college football fans after leading Alabama over Georgia in the national championship game in January. But unless they are big fans of the Tide or recruiting junkies, odds are they still don't know much about Tagovailoa other than he came off the bench after halftime to rally the Tide to an overtime victory on the sport's biggest stage.
So what else is there to know? Let's find out...
1. Family Ties, Take I
Tagovailoa is currently battling incumbent starter Jalen Hurts to be Alabama's starting QB, but he may soon have to also fight off his brother. Taulia Tagovailoa is a Tide commit for the recruiting class of 2019 and comes in as the No. 8 pro-style quarterback in the nation in the 247Sports composite rankings.
2. Family Ties, Take II
Notre Dame defensive lineman Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa and Navy offensive lineman Adam Amosa-Tagovailoa are cousins of the Tagovailoa brothers and, in fact, were born in the same house. Myron and Adam met on the field last season when the Irish hosted the Midshipmen, but if they want to face their Alabama cousins, it will have to be in the postseason.
3. Record setter
Tua Tagovailoa became Hawaii's all-time leader in high school passing yards in 2017 when he surpassed fellow former Saint Louis High School (Honolulu) quarterback Timmy Chang's record of 8,001 yards. Tua finished his prep career with 8,158 yards, and his record is safe from his four-star brother: Taulia and the rest of the family moved to Alabama when Tua enrolled in Tuscaloosa.
4. Always Been Clutch
The national title game wasn't Tagovailoa's first big performance with everything on the line. With Saint Louis trailing Kahuku 14-13 heading into the fourth quarter of the 2016 state title game, Tagovailoa threw two fourth quarter touchdowns as the Crusaders outscored the Red Raiders 17-0 down the stretch for a 30-14 victory.
5. Best of the Best
In the summer of 2016, Tagovailoa was named the MVP of the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camp, beating out a star-studded cast of fellow passers. Among those competing with Tagovailoa in the event were Georgia's Jake Fromm, Texas' Sam Ehlinger, Ohio State's Tate Martell, USC's Jack Sears, Stanford's Davis Mills, Clemson's Hunter Johnson and Michigan's Dylan McCaffrey.
6. Happy He Stayed
Tagovailoa admitted after the season that, at times, he wanted to leave Alabama for a school where things might be easier. He was even quoted as saying he would have looked to transfer had he not played in the national title game. Tagovailoa later said that quote was taken out of context, but either way he always knew it would be best to fight through adversity because it would make him better.
7. Tough Break
Tagovailoa suffered a broken finger on his throwing hand at start of spring practice when he collided with a teammate and ended up needing surgery. He did return to practice to work in non-throwing drills but lost a chance to separate himself from Hurts in the QB battle. Tagovailoa should be fine for fall camp, however, as he was seen throwing over Memorial Day weekend at the Steve Clarkson QB Retreat camp in Southern California.
8. Friendly Rivals
Texas QB and former Elite 11 rival Sam Ehlinger is friends with Tagovailoa, and the Longhorns passer used a picture with Tua to poke some fun at the Tide on Twitter. In the photo Ehlinger is pointing at Tagovailoa, and he Tweeted, "This guy knows what would've happen if Colt didn't get hurt," referring to Texas QB Colt McCoy being injured in the Longhorns loss to Alabama for the 2009 BCS title.
9. Everyone Loves a Parade
While his immediate family moved to Alabama with him, Tagovailoa and his relatives are still very much a part of their hometown in Hawaii. In fact, when the family went back to the islands to visit recently, a parade was held in Tagovailoa's honor in his hometown of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, on May 19.
10. Big Expectations
While he has never started a college game - or even been named Alabama's starter yet - big things are being forecast for Tagovailoa in 2018. At Athlon Sports he's already been named a preseason second team All-American and first-team All-SEC selection.