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Tuanigamanuolepola "Tua" Tagovailoa (TOO-ah TUNG-oh-VAI-loa;[1] born March 2, 1998) is an American football quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He was born and raised in Hawaii.[2]

Tua Tagovailoa
Alabama Crimson Tide – No. 13
Career history
Bowl games
High schoolSaint Louis School
(Honolulu, Hawaii)
Personal information
Born: (1998-03-02) March 2, 1998 (age 20)
ʻEwa Beach, Hawaii, U.S.
Height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight218 lb (99 kg)
Career highlights and awards


Early yearsEdit

Tagovailoa, the oldest of four children in a Samoan family, grew up with an intense interest in football. In a 2015 story in Sports Illustrated, his parents recalled that he slept with a football under his arm as a small child. During Pop Warner games when he was age 8, when his peers could typically throw a football little more than 10 yards, he routinely threw passes more than 30 yards. He was slow to grow into his body, but according to his high school coaches, "his Samoan genes finally kicked in" at about age 12.[2]

His main inspiration during his youth was his grandfather Seu, who was respected enough in the local Samoan community that he was regularly addressed as "Chief Tagovailoa". Seu believed that Tua would eventually grow into a football star, and he requested that Tua visit him after every game to give him a report, no matter the time of day, with Tua once visiting at 3:00 am. Tua faced a crisis in the summer of 2014 when his grandfather unexpectedly died, and briefly considered quitting football until he and his father agreed that Tua could best honor Seu by continuing to play.[2]

He was ranked as the number one high school player in the state of Hawaii of the Class of 2017 and attended Saint Louis School in Honolulu, the same school as Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.[3] Mariota served as a mentor to him when they were growing up in Hawaii.[4]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Tua Tagovailoa
Honolulu, Hawaii Saint Louis School 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 4.90 May 2, 2016 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports:     ESPN:    ESPN grade: 85
Overall recruiting rankings:   Rivals: 3 (Dual-threat QB)  247Sports: 1 (Dual-threat QB)  ESPN: 1 (Dual-threat QB)
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


  • "2017 Alabama Football Commitment List". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  • "ESPN". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  • "2017 Team Ranking". Retrieved January 9, 2018.

College careerEdit


As a true freshman, Tagovailoa was backup to sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts throughout the 2017 season, but he got to see significant playing time due to a couple of blowout victories for the Crimson Tide. After this people started to notice him as a once-in-a-generation quarterback. On September 9, he made his collegiate debut against Fresno State in a home game at Bryant–Denny Stadium. In the 41–10 victory, he finished 6-of-9 for 64 yards and his first career passing touchdown, which was a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Henry Ruggs III.[5] On September 23, in a 59–0 victory against Vanderbilt, he got more playing time and recorded 103 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.[6] In the next game, against SEC West rival Ole Miss, he recorded his first collegiate rushing touchdown in a 66–3 victory.[7] In the annual rivalry game against Tennessee, he finished with 134 passing yards, one passing touchdown, one interception, and one rushing touchdown in the 45–7 victory.[8] On November 18, in a game against Mercer, he threw for three passing touchdowns in the 56–0 victory.[9] On January 8, 2018, he replaced Hurts in the second half of the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship due to ineffective play by Hurts.[10] He threw the game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass in overtime to another true freshman, wide receiver Devonta Smith, to win the game and claim the 2017-2018 CFP National Championship. He finished the 26-23 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs 14-of-24 for 166 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and one interception, along with 27 rushing yards on 12 attempts.[11][12] Tagovailoa was named the Offensive MVP of the game.[13]


On September 1, 2018, Tagovailoa made his first career start at the season's opening game, against Louisville, in Orlando, Florida. He finished 12-of-16, with 227 passing yards and two touchdowns in the 51–14 victory, before Jalen Hurts replaced him in the third quarter.[14] During Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s weekly Monday press conference following the victory, he announced Tagovailoa as the starter for The Crimson Tide’s home opener against Arkansas State on September 8.[15] In the 62–7 victory over Ole Miss, he was 11-of-15 for 191 passing yards and two touchdowns to go along with 47 rushing yards.[16] He continued his efficient season against Texas A&M with 387 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown in the 45–23 victory.[17] In a limited role against Louisana, he was 8-of-8 passing for 128 passing yards and two passing touchdowns in the 56–14 victory.[18] In the next game against Arkansas, he had more passing touchdowns than incompletions as he went 10-of-13 for 334 passing yards and four passing touchdowns in the 65–31 victory.[19] Following the regular season, he finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting to Oklahoma Sooner starting quarterback Kyler Murray, but he won the Walter Camp Award and Maxwell Award for 2018, both awarded to the top player in college football.[20] While recovering from the high ankle sprain he suffered during the SEC Championship against Georgia, Tagovailoa put on a nearly flawless offensive performance against Oklahoma in the 2018 Orange Bowl (24-of-27 with 318 yards passing, 4 TDs and 0 INTs) to lead the Tide to their 4th consecutive CFP National Championship appearance. He was also named Offensive MVP of that game. In the 2019 National Championship loss (44-16) against Clemson, Tagovailoa went 22-of-34 with 295 passing yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. He also set a new NCAA FBS passer rating record of 199.4 for the season, surpassing the record 198.9 set by Baker Mayfield in 2017.


Year Team Games Passing Rushing
G GS Cmp Att Pct Yards TD Int Rtg Att Yards Avg TD
2017 Alabama 8 0 49 77 63.6 636 11 2 175.0 27 133 4.9 2
2018 Alabama 15 15 245 355 69.0 3,966 43 6 199.4 57 190 3.3 5
Career 23 15 294 432 68.1 4,602 54 8 195.1 84 323 3.8 7

Personal lifeEdit

After Tagovailoa’s commitment to Alabama and graduating early from Saint Louis School, the Tagovailoa family moved to Alabaster, Alabama.[21] Tagovailoa is a committed Christian.[22]

Tagovailoa's younger brother, Taulia Tagovailoa, plays quarterback for Thompson High School, in Alabaster.[21] Taulia, according to 247 Sports, was the 9th ranked dual-threat quarterback in the nation in the Class of 2019 and received offers from nine schools, including Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Ole Miss, and Oregon.[23] Taulia committed to Alabama during the Alabama Spring game.[24] Tua and Taulia attended the Elite 11 QB camp in 2018, with Tua returning as a guest alumnus after winning MVP in 2016.[25] Tagovailoa's cousin, Myron, is a defensive lineman at Notre Dame.[26]

Awards and honorsEdit

High School Awards & Honors

  • 2014 Semper Fidelis Player of the Year (St. Louis School)
  • 2016 Nike’s "The Opening" MVP
  • 2017 U.S. Army All-America Bowl
  • Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge
  • 2016 Elite 11 MVP
  • 2016 Gatorade State Player of the Year (Hawaii)
  • PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team
  • 2016 HHSAA District 1 State Championship
  • KOHN2's Cover2 Kaulukukui Award (Hawaii Offensive Player of the Year)
  • KOHN2 Cover2 Mariota Award (Hawaii Player of the Year)

2017 (Freshman)

2018 (Sophomore)

†Shared award



  • Passer efficiency rating in a season (199.4 in 2018; also FBS record)
  • Passing yards per attempt in a season (11.2 in 2018)
  • Total yards per play in a season (10.1 in 2018)
  • Most passing TDs in a season (43 in 2018)
  • Single-season passing yardage (3,966 in 2018)
  • TDs responsible for (48 in 2018)


  • Total TDs in a season (48 in 2018)
  • Total touchdowns in a game (6 during 2018 Iron Bowl against Auburn)
  • Tied for most passing touchdowns in a game (5 during 2018 Iron Bowl against Auburn)
  • Most 4-touchdown games in a season (6 in 2018)
  • Most 300-yard passing games (6) in a season (2018)

Note – Conference Records are also school records. Once a conference record is recorded, its corresponding school record is removed. For example, the record for single-season total touchdowns is only recorded in the conference section, but it is both a conference record and a University of Alabama record.


  1. ^ "Alabama 2017 Class: Tua Tagovailoa". Archived from the original on January 9, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Schnell, Lindsey (October 8, 2015). "The islands' next great QB: Tua Tagovailoa, and the story of the man who inspired him to soar". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on January 9, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  3. ^ "Tua Tagovailoa replaces Jalen Hurts: What you need to know about freshman QB". Sporting News. January 8, 2018. Archived from the original on January 9, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  4. ^ "Mariota happy for protege Tagovailoa's success". Archived from the original on January 10, 2018. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  5. ^ "Fresno State at Alabama Box Score, September 9, 2017". College Football at Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  6. ^ "Alabama at Vanderbilt Box Score, September 23, 2017". College Football at Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  7. ^ "Ole Miss at Alabama Box Score, September 30, 2017". College Football at Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  8. ^ "Tennessee at Alabama Box Score, October 21, 2017". College Football at Archived from the original on November 9, 2017. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  9. ^ "Mercer at Alabama Box Score, November 18, 2017". College Football at Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  10. ^ Lyles Jr., Harry; Kirshner, Alex. "True freshman Tua Tagovailoa replaces Jalen Hurts in the middle of the National Championship, sparking Alabama". SB Nation. Archived from the original on January 9, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  11. ^ "College Football Championship - Alabama vs Georgia Box Score, January 8, 2018". College Football at Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  12. ^ Hoffman, Benjamin; Drape, Joe; Tracy, Marc (2018). "National Championship Game: Alabama Beats Georgia Behind Freshman Quarterback". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 9, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  13. ^ "Alabama football: Tua Tagovailoa, Da'Ron Payne earn MVP honors". ajc. Archived from the original on January 10, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  14. ^ "Tagovailoa shines, No. 1 Alabama routs Louisville 51-14". USA Today. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  15. ^ "No. 1 Alabama names Tua Tagovailoa starting quarterback". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. September 3, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  16. ^ "No. 1 Alabama rolls past Ole Miss". September 16, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  17. ^ Hurt, Cecil. "Tagovailoa throws for 387 yards, four TDs as Tide thumps Aggies". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  18. ^ "No sweat: Tua goes 8-for-8 as No. 1 Alabama rolls". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. September 29, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  19. ^ "Tagovailoa throws 4 TD as No. 1 Alabama beats Arkansas 65-31". USA Today. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  20. ^ "Alabama QB Tagovailoa wins Walter Camp Award". December 6, 2018. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  21. ^ a b Thomas, Ben (March 30, 2017). "Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa's brother set to enroll at Thompson High". Archived from the original on January 10, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  22. ^ "'God, Thank You': Alabama Tide Wins Championship, Led by Faith-Filled Freshman QB Tua Tagovailoa". January 9, 2018. Archived from the original on February 4, 2018.
  23. ^ "Taulia Tagovailoa Recruiting Interests". 247 Sports. Archived from the original on July 26, 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  24. ^ Carroll, Charlotte (April 21, 2018). "Taulia Tagovailoa, Younger Brother of Tua, Commits to Alabama". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  25. ^ NFL Network (August 1, 2018), The Top 24 High School QBs in the Country Compete for a Spot on the 2018 Elite 11 | NFL Network, retrieved August 16, 2018
  26. ^ "Faith and family drive Notre Dame DL Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa".