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Tua’s Takeover

A deeper dive into Alabama star QB Tua Tagovailoa's rise to football royalty.

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Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) throws a pass during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Missouri, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) ORG XMIT: ALBD102

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) throws a pass during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Missouri, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) ORG XMIT: ALBD102

AP

AP

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) throws a pass during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Missouri, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) ORG XMIT: ALBD102

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A Hawaiian legend has taken over in Tuscaloosa. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, has taken college football by storm. His undeniable talent leaving opposing teams and reporters baffled. I myself am a fan of the Crimson Tide, so by default I believe he might be one of the best ever, but I wanted to find a more unbiased picture of the young superstar. Is he once in a generation or cemented in college football history?

Let’s break it down from the beginning. Tua Tagovailoa was born on March 2, 1998 in Ewa Beach, Hawaii. The first of four children, Tua adored the game from a young age, often sleeping with a football throughout his childhood. Tua’s main motivator and trainer is his father Galu, but his inspiration was his grandfather Seu. Also known in his Samoan community as “Chief Tagovailoa,” he had young Tua give him a report of his performance after every game. In the summer of 2014 Tua’s grandfather unexpectedly died, which made Tua consider quitting football. He and his father agreed that it would be best to honor him by continuing to play his beloved game.

Tagovailoa chose to wear the crimson not for football, but the sense of community and oddly how the slow pace of life reminded him of his Hawaiian home.

In high school Tagovailoa rose to stardom, becoming the number one ranked player in Hawaii for the 2017 recruiting class. His idol and on-field mentor was also a Hawaiian legend Marcus Mariota, who he backed up at the Saint Louis School in Honolulu, Hawaii. He finished his high school career on top by committing to the University of Alabama, winning a state championship, and the Marcus Mariota Player of the Year Award. In the summer of 2017 he was invited to the Elite 11 Quarterback competition, where the nation’s top eleven QB’s battle it out for the title of Elite 11 MVP. Tagovailoa came into the competition as a lower ranking QB, but his effortless talent and coachability took over and in the end he was crowned Elite 11 MVP. Talk about going out on top!

Tua arrived on the Alabama campus in the spring of 2017. He was backing up Jalen Hurts, formerly SEC offensive player of the year as a true freshman. Tagovailoa is not one to make enemies, so he quickly became best friends with Hurts. He had an impressive season for a backup, only playing fourth quarters.

Tua finished the 2017 season with a 63.6 completion percentage, 636 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions.

Tua became famous in the 2017-2018 national championship game versus Georgia. The tide were down 13-0 at halftime and needed a spark. The lefty brought Bama back to a 26-23 victory, probably one of the greatest national debuts ever.

The 2017 National Championship victory, was the Tide’s fifth title in nine years.

Tagovailoa emerged as solidified stud on the gridiron in 2018. He leads college football in QB efficiency and QBR (Quarter Back rating), and has transformed Alabama’s offense into a super powered machine, with their lowest margin of victory through eight games being twenty-one points. Bama is known as a defensive powerhouse, often winning games on that side of the ball, but it seems impossible for any Alabama defense to be more prolific than their current offense under Tua Tagovailoa.

Only eight games into the 2018 season Tua has 70.4 completion percentage, 2066 yards, 25 touchdowns, a nation leading 0 interceptions, and a nation leading 238.85 Quarter Back Rating.

I interviewed my peers to get a take from people who aren’t Alabama fans. I began with the most common question about Tagovailoa, “Is he the best Quarter Back in college football”? Some like Lafayette senior football player Trey Canady, believe that Trevor Lawrence from Clemson is the most talented. Though most like Lafayette senior football player Caleb Massie believe that Tua is the best, but needs to face some better competition. Another common question I asked was if Tua had raised Alabama’s level of dominance? Both agreed that Tua made Bama more dynamic with a new high flying offense. A similar topic to the first, I asked if they believed Tagovailoa would win the Heisman Trophy? Canaday and Massie both agree that his historic performance this year isn’t being challenged by any other player. When the thought of his NFL success was debated between the two, they both ended on the decision that they thought he was too small and will use up his talent in college. I then wanted to get their take on if they thought that recently successful Hawaiian QB’s like Tagovailoa or Mariota have taken over college football? Again, they both agreed that while those two have had major success, there hasn’t been enough of them to consider a “takeover” of college football. When asked if his success was due to the Five-Star talent around him, Canaday said that his success was absolutely due to the talent around him. On the contrary, Massie said that every great quarter back needs a great team to succeed. I wanted to finish the interview with a question that I constantly argue with people about, Is Tua Tagovailoa once in a generation or one of the best in the history of college football? After a long period of debate, both of my peers somewhat agreed that he might be the best of his generation, but they want to see him face more competition or adversity.

If you ask me, Tua Tagovailoa might be the best passer ever. His effortless lefty spiral and quick release resemble a bald eagle soaring through the sky. His solid build and escape ability make for nail biting plays. Most of all he almost never misses a receiver, leaving defenders clueless on how to stop his golden arm. He is on pace to shatter the all-time QB efficiency record held by 2017 Heisman Trophy Winner Baker Mayfield. Many say that he is too reckless, but he has orchestrated the most prolific pass attack in college football and hasn’t thrown a single interception. No other quarterback in the history of college football can say that. Tua started his college career by shocking the world on the biggest stage, and I along with many major football analysts, believe he will continue to leave us in awe of undeniable greatness. I guess we will just have to sit back and watch the show to see if the “Lefty Legend” is legit.

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Tua’s Takeover