Tua Tagovailoa‘s Injury Heard ‘Round the College Football World last Saturday, as it turns out, won’t just impact Alabama’s push for a sixth consecutive playoff berth.
Prior to Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury, Alabama had planned on redshirting Tagovailoa’s younger brother, Taulia Tagovailoa, who had been serving as the Crimson Tide’s No. 3 quarterback as a true freshman this season. As the third-string quarterback, the younger Tagovailoa had played in four games in 2019, the threshold of appearances for a player to still maintain the ability to redshirt.
Because of the injury to his brother, however, Nick Saban confirmed Thursday that Tagovailoa will play Saturday against FCS Western Carolina, meaning a redshirt will officially be off the table.
“We’re gonna play him this week in this game some kind of way regardless of how the game goes to try to get him some experience, some playing time and hopefully some confidence,” the head coach said on his weekly radio show. “When we had the unfortunate injury last week to Tua, that kind of negated the opportunity to be able to redshirt to Taulia. …
“With him being now the backup quarterback, we thought we needed to play him, because if something happens to this quarterback, Mac Jones, he’s going to be the guy that’s got to go in the game and try to win the game for us.”
A four-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2019 recruiting class, Tagovailoa was rated as the No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Alabama (he and his family moved to Tuscaloosa when his brother joined the Tide in 2017). In limited action this season, Tagovailoa has completed seven-of-nine passes for 72 yards.
Tagovailoa will now serve as the redshirt sophomore Jones’ primary backup moving forward, and those two will compete for the starting job next year if the older Tagovailoa brother does the expected and enters the 2020 NFL Draft.