After a fairytale run in the 2018 regular season, things came crashing down to Earth for Tua Tagovailoa. Fresh off throwing for a season high five touchdowns in a blowout Iron Bowl victory against Auburn. Tua and his Alabama team mates stared down Georgia in the SEC Championship game. Down 21-14 at the break and with Tua being outplayed by opposite number Jake Fromm, Nick Saban made the decision to bench his star signal caller. Tua had completed just 10 of 25 passes for a touchdown and a pair of interceptions. Back up quarterback Jalen Hurts came in and led the Alabama squad to the SEC title 28-21.
Tua rebounded in the Orange Bowl throwing for four touchdowns against Oklahoma. Tua outplayed recent number one overall pick Kyler Murray and it looked as though Tua was on course to join him in a years time. His performance was reminiscent of the effort he produced to win the 2018 National Championship tilt for Bama.
Next came the national championship game against Clemson and star Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence. It was a battle between the two best college quarterbacks in the country. A chance for America to crown its king of college football. It was Lawrence who stole the hearts of a nation that evening. His Clemson side romping to a blowout victory over the tide. Tua himself threw a duo of picks to compliment his two touchdowns. A trend had begun to emerge. As the orange and purple ticker-tape fell on the field in Atlanta, Trevor was king, Tua was but one of many question marks facing the Alabama team heading in to 2019.
The Saban-Tagovailoa Revenge Tour
Nick Saban doesn’t like losing games. Alabama doesn’t like losing games. It doesn’t happen very often. Even rarer is it for Alabama to get blown out in the way they did during the national title game. They come back restocked with star quality around their quarterback on offense. Tua himself has reloaded for 2019 with a significant amount to prove. To the media, to NFL scouts and to himself. He hasn’t got to this point by losing big games. By not performing in big moments.
I expect Tua to explode out the gate at the beginning of this season. To try and regain his position atop the college football world. To make sure when he gets to the tougher part of Alabama’s schedule, that he is ready to face off against the potential NFL calibre defenses on the teams schedule. To show scouts and media figures alike that he deserves the hype that could make him the number one pick come April 2020.
Sky High Potential
Tua has sky high potential. Many would argue he should have won the Heisman Trophy last year and many would make him favourite to take the title this year. If Tua can make the jump from very good to superstar and answer the questions about his ability against top tier defenses, then he can go number one overall in 2020.
Photo – University of Alabama Athletics Department