In one of the most anticipated stay-or-go announcements in recent memory, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will skip his senior season to enter the 2020 NFL Draft.
Tagovailoa made the announcement in a televised press conference from Tuscaloosa on Monday.
Nick Saban on Monday proclaimed him one of the most impactful players in Alabama’s football history, and it would be impossible to argue otherwise.
A former 5-star recruit out of Honolulu, Tagovailoa burst on the scene in one of the most memorable performances in college football history. Though he had appeared in seven games prior, he saved Alabama’s 2017 national championship hopes by arriving in a big way, rescuing the Tide from a 13-0 halftime deficit to defeat Georgia, 26-23 in overtime, sealing the win on an astonishing 41-yard touchdown throw to fellow freshman Devonta Smith.
In his first year as a starter, Tua set the FBS single-season efficiency record, hitting 69 percent of his 355 throws for 3,966 yards (11.2 per attempt) with 43 touchdowns against six interceptions — good for a 199.44 rating. He was even better this fall, connecting on 71.4 percent of his 252 passes for 2,840 yards (11.3 per) with 33 touchdowns against just three picks, a 206.93 rating that put him on pace to shatter his own record had he appeared in one more game this season.
With the announcement, Tagovailoa’s career ended with a hip-breaking sack against Mississippi State on Nov. 16. That injury robbed him of a chance to win a Heisman Trophy and to lead Alabama to a national championship as a full-time starter, but otherwise he checked every box a quarterback can in just two years as a starter.
Tua Tagovailoa will leave with @AlabamaFTBL career records for:
Passing TD’s- 87
TD’s responsible for- 96
300yd passing games- 10
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) January 6, 2020
Speculation had grown in recent weeks that Tua could return and hopefully enter the 2021 draft fully healthy, but that speculation proved moot on Monday.
With Tua officially out, the attention will now turn to an intriguing battle to succeed the best quarterback in Alabama history. Mac Jones proved capable over the final three games, throwing for 327 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in Alabama’s 35-16 win over Michigan in last week’s Citrus Bowl. Competing with Jones will be Tua’s younger brother, rising sophomore Taulia Tagovailoa, and incoming 5-star freshman Bryce Young, whom Tua referenced by name on Monday.