Tua Tagovailoa
Tagovailoa readies for a snap (November 2018)
Alabama Crimson TideNo. 13
Quarterback Junior
Date of birth: (1998-03-02) March 2, 1998 (age 22)
Place of birth: Ewa Beach, Hawaii, U.S.
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight: [convert: invalid number]
Career history
High school: Saint Louis School
(Honolulu, Hawaii)
*Alabama (2017–present)
Bowl games
*2018 Sugar Bowl
Career highlights and awards
*2018 Orange Bowl Offensive MVP
Stats at ESPN.com

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

Early years[edit | edit source]

Tua Tagovailoa was born March 2, 1998 to Galu Tagovailoa and Diane Tagovailoa[3], the oldest of four children in a Samoan family and was said to have grown up with an intense interest in football with his parents noting that he would sleep with a football under his arm every night as a small child. Tagovailoa's father, Galu, began training Tagovailoa at the age of two and forced Tagovailoa to begin throwing with his left hand instead of his right.[4] 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]

When Tagovailoa began varsity football in high school, he threw for 33 passing touchdowns during his first season with three interceptions and 2583 passing yards.[5] Tagovailoa said a big inspiration and motivation for his performance was how his father disciplined him, saying he used a belt and a bible whenever Tagovailoa threw an interception.[3] In 2016, Tagovailoa played in the Army All-American bowl game, a high-school football all star game[6] and in his regular season threw for 2669 passing yards with 27 passing touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He was also chosen to be a part of the Elite 11 roster as one of the elite high-school quarterbacks and was MVP of that roster.[7] In 2017, 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[8] where Mariota served as a mentor to him when they were growing up in Hawaii.[9] He had 17 offers from colleges to play on a college football scholarship, including the UCLA, Oregon and Colorado, eventually enrolling in the University of Alabama on 1/8/2017 and committing to play there starting from 2017.

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 
Scout:75px   Rivals:75px   ESPN grade: 85
Overall recruiting rankings:   Rivals: 3 (Dual-threat QB)  ESPN: 1 (Dual-threat QB)
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout and Rivals may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, an average of the two was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


College career[edit | edit source]

2017[edit | edit source]

As a true freshman, Tagovailoa was the backup to sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts throughout the 2017 season. However, he experienced significant playing time due to a couple of blowout victories for the Crimson Tide. After gaining more playing time, some noticed 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.[10] On September 23, in a 59–0 victory against Vanderbilt, he got more playing time and recorded 103 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.[11] In the next game, against SEC West rival Ole Miss, he recorded his first collegiate rushing touchdown in a 66–3 victory.[12] 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.[13] On November 18, in a game against Mercer, he threw for three passing touchdowns in the 56–0 victory.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16][17] Tagovailoa was named the Offensive MVP of the game.[18]

2018[edit | edit source]

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.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22] In a limited role against Louisiana, he was 8-of-8 passing for 128 passing yards and two passing touchdowns in the 56–14 victory.[23] 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.[24] Following the regular season, he finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting to Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray, but he won the Walter Camp Award and Maxwell Award for 2018, both awarded to the top player in college football.[25] 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.

2019[edit | edit source]

Tagovailoa began his junior season at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against Duke in Atlanta. He finished 26-of-31 with 336 passing yards, 4 TDs and no interceptions before sitting out the fourth quarter. [26]

Statistics[edit | edit source]

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
2019 Alabama 1 1 26 31 83.9 336 4 0 217.5 5 15 3.0 0
Career 24 16 320 463 69.1 4,938 58 8 196.6 89 338 3.8 7

Personal life[edit | edit source]

After Tagovailoa’s commitment to Alabama and graduating early from Saint Louis School, the Tagovailoa family moved to Alabaster, Alabama.[27] Tagovailoa is a committed Christian.[28]

Tagovailoa's younger brother, Taulia, played quarterback for Thompson High School, in Alabaster,[27] and is currently signed to the Crimson Tide. 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.[29] Taulia committed to Alabama during the Alabama Spring game.[30] Tua and Taulia attended the Elite 11 QB camp in 2018, with Tua returning as a guest alumnus after winning MVP in 2016.[31] Tagovailoa's cousin, Myron, is a defensive lineman at Notre Dame.[32]

Awards and Honors[edit | edit source]

High School Awards & Honors

  • 2014 Semper Fidelis Player of the Year (St. Louis School)
  • 2016 Nike’s "The Opening" MVP
  • 2016 Jr Prep Sports Paradise Football Classic 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
  • KHON2's Cover2 Kaulukukui Award (Hawaii Offensive Player of the Year)
  • KHON2 Cover2 Mariota Award (Hawaii Player of the Year)

2017 (Freshman)

2018 (Sophomore)

2019 (Junior)

†Shared award

Records[edit | edit source]


  • 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)


  • 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 (7) in a season (2019)
  • Single-season Total Offense Yards (4,156 yards in 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.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Alabama 2017 Class: Tua Tagovailoa". Archived from the original on January 9, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180109235358/https://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/alabama-2017-class-tua-tagovailoa-012917. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 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. https://www.si.com/college-football/2015/10/08/hawaiis-next-great-qb-tua-tagovailoa-and-man-who-inspired-him. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cash, Meredith. "Tua Tagovailoa gave some dark details of how far his father went to turn him into one of the best players in college football". https://www.businessinsider.com/video-tua-tagovailoa-father-used-belt-interceptions-2018-12.
  4. Cash, Meredith. "Tua Tagovailoa gave some dark details of how far his father went to turn him into one of the best players in college football". https://www.businessinsider.com/video-tua-tagovailoa-father-used-belt-interceptions-2018-12.
  5. "Tua Tagovailoa, St. Louis Crusaders, Dual-Threat Quarterback" (in en-US). https://247sports.com/Player/Tua-Tagovailoa-77451/high-school-134998/.
  6. Star-Advertiser (2016-11-30), Army All-American Bowl presents Tua Tagovailoa with jersey 11/30/16, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eY88cNEBA7Q, retrieved 2019-02-15
  7. Kirpalani, Sanjay. "Meet Tua Tagovailoa, the 2016 Elite 11 MVP" (in en). https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2651376-meet-tua-tagovailoa-the-elite-11-2016-mvp.
  8. "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. http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/news/who-is-tua-tagovailoa-replace-jalen-hurts-college-football-playoff-championship/1uhef9rp10z781m6o81ghl9pbp.
  9. "Mariota happy for protege Tagovailoa's success". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on January 10, 2018. http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/22016904/tennessee-titans-quarterback-marcus-mariota-happy-alabama-crimson-tide-tua-tagovailoa-played-honolulu-saint-louis-high-school.
  10. "Fresno State at Alabama Box Score, September 9, 2017" (in en). Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180123073211/https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/boxscores/2017-09-09-alabama.html.
  11. "Alabama at Vanderbilt Box Score, September 23, 2017" (in en). Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180123072410/https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/boxscores/2017-09-23-vanderbilt.html.
  12. "Ole Miss at Alabama Box Score, September 30, 2017" (in en). Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180123073236/https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/boxscores/2017-09-30-alabama.html.
  13. "Tennessee at Alabama Box Score, October 21, 2017" (in en). Archived from the original on November 9, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20171109191721/https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/boxscores/2017-10-21-alabama.html.
  14. "Mercer at Alabama Box Score, November 18, 2017" (in en). Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180123072801/https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/boxscores/2017-11-18-alabama.html.
  15. 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. https://web.archive.org/web/20180109121905/https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2018/1/8/16866510/tua-tagovailoa-alabama-georgia-national-championship. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  16. "College Football Championship - Alabama vs Georgia Box Score, January 8, 2018" (in en). Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180123073215/https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/boxscores/2018-01-08-georgia.html.
  17. Hoffman, Benjamin; Drape, Joe; Tracy, Marc (2018). "National Championship Game: Alabama Beats Georgia Behind Freshman Quarterback" (in en-US). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 9, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/sports/national-championship-game-alabama-georgia.html.
  18. "Alabama football: Tua Tagovailoa, Da'Ron Payne earn MVP honors". ajc. Archived from the original on January 10, 2018. https://www.ajc.com/sports/college/alabama-football-tua-tagovailoa-ron-payne-earn-mvp-honors/3V6O2PKyXSljgeYCj0nL0K/.
  19. "Tagovailoa shines, No. 1 Alabama routs Louisville 51-14". USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2018/09/02/tagovailoa-shines-no-1-alabama-routs-louisville-51-14/37695355/.
  20. "No. 1 Alabama names Tua Tagovailoa starting quarterback" (in en-US). Honolulu Star-Advertiser. September 3, 2018. http://www.staradvertiser.com/2018/09/03/sports/sports-breaking/no-1-alabama-officially-names-tua-tagovailoa-starting-quarterback/.
  21. "No. 1 Alabama rolls past Ole Miss" (in en-US). WREG.com. September 16, 2018. https://wreg.com/2018/09/15/no-1-alabama-rolls-past-ole-miss/.
  22. Hurt, Cecil. "Tagovailoa throws for 387 yards, four TDs as Tide thumps Aggies" (in en). Tuscaloosa News. https://www.tuscaloosanews.com/news/20180922/tagovailoa-throws-for-387-yards-four-tds-as-tide-thumps-aggies.
  23. "No sweat: Tua goes 8-for-8 as No. 1 Alabama rolls" (in en-US). Honolulu Star-Advertiser. September 29, 2018. http://www.staradvertiser.com/2018/09/29/sports/sports-breaking/no-sweat-tua-goes-8-for-8-as-no-1-alabama-rolls/.
  24. "Tagovailoa throws 4 TD as No. 1 Alabama beats Arkansas 65-31" (in en). USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2018/10/06/tagovailoa-throws-4-td-as-no-1-alabama-beats-arkansas-65-31/38072505/.
  25. "Alabama QB Tagovailoa wins Walter Camp Award" (in en). December 6, 2018. http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/25471381.
  26. "Alabama’s offense starts slow, can’t run it, but Tua is still Tua" (in en). August 31, 2019. https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/alabama-football/alabama-offense-struggles-under-sarkisian-but-tua-saves-day/.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Thomas, Ben (March 30, 2017). "Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa's brother set to enroll at Thompson High". AL.com. Archived from the original on January 10, 2018. http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2017/03/alabama_freshman_qb_tua_tagova.html#incart_river_index.
  28. "'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. https://web.archive.org/web/20180204032955/https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/2018/january/god-thank-you-alabama-tide-wins-college-championship-led-by-faith-filled-freshman-qb-tua-tagovailoa.
  29. "Taulia Tagovailoa Recruiting Interests". Archived from the original on July 26, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20170726132903/http://247sports.com/Recruitment/Taulia-Tagovailoa-93745/RecruitInterests.
  30. Carroll, Charlotte (April 21, 2018). "Taulia Tagovailoa, Younger Brother of Tua, Commits to Alabama". Sports Illustrated. https://www.si.com/college-football/2018/04/21/tua-tagovailoa-taulia-tagovailoa-commits-alabama. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  31. 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, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzrEZQI2IEM, retrieved August 16, 2018
  32. "Faith and family drive Notre Dame DL Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa". https://www.ndinsider.com/football/faith-and-family-drive-notre-dame-dl-myron-tagovailoa-amosa/article_3d8c0cd8-cc00-11e7-9f02-bbb9474c9bc9.html.

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