Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was the hero of the College Football Playoff title game. Just a few months earlier, he was contemplating a transfer.
The five-star recruit was trapped behind incumbent starter Jalen Hurts on the Alabama depth chart. Even though he was only at the beginning of his freshman season, Tagovailoa wasn’t seeing the field much.
This afternoon, during an appearance at his former interemediate school in Honolulu, Tagovailoa admitted he not only thought about transferring. He even had a place picked out.
The southpaw wanted to leave Tuscaloosa for USC, according to Hawaii News Now’s Taryn Hatcher.
“I called my dad and asked him if my offer to the University of Southern California was still available,” Tagovailoa told the crowd of seventh and eighth graders. “I wanted to leave. I told my dad I wanted to go to a school where I thought it’d be easier for me and wouldn’t challenge me so much.”
The former Crusader went on to tell the students that this particular conversation with his father took place early in his time in Tuscaloosa – and that it actually landed him in hot water with his family.
He said his parents told him he had to push through, and he knew they were right.
Luckily, Tagovailoa stayed put, and he ended up helping Alabama in the biggest spot of all. He relieved an ineffective Hurts at halftime of the national championship game against Georgia and threw three touchdown passes, including the game-winner to Devonta Smith in overtime.
Tagovailoa’s performance appeared to put him in the driver’s seat to win the starting job this off-season, but Nick Saban has yet to make a decision. That hasn’t stopped some pundits from declaring him one of the top signal callers in the nation and a Heisman Trophy candidate.
What a different a year makes.