‘Ohana’: Tua Tagovailoa is leaving Tuscaloosa but what about Taulia?
The Alabama Crimson Tide start a new era at the quarterback position this week with Tua Tagovailoa’s announcement he would enter this year’s NFL draft.
Head coach Nick Saban has no shortage of options in tapping his team’s next starting quarterback. Redshirt sophomore Mac Jones filled in admirably for the injured Tua, throwing for 937 yards and 10 touchdowns in his three starts.
Alabama’s quarterback room also includes former four-star recruit Paul Tyson, great grandson of the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant, and Taulia Tagovailoa, younger brother of Tua.
The Tide signed five-star recruit Bryce Young out of California. Young is considered by many to be the No. 1 high school quarterback in the country and is being billed as “Alabama’s next great quarterback.”
With the departure of Tua, and the logjam at the quarterback position, could Taulia Tagovailoa seek playing time at another school?
Possibly. Here is a look at what some of his options might be:
Option 1 – Transfer in-state.
The logical program if he sought a transfer in-state would be UAB. Having moved all the way from Hawaii, the Tagovailoa family settled in Alabaster where Taulia finished his high school career at Thompson High School. UAB head coach Bill Clark is well-respected in the coaching profession and there would already be a familiarity with the Birmingham area.
With three years of eligibility remaining, Taulia could sit out a year as part of his transfer and then be ready to compete with would-be senior Tyler Johnston for the starting job.
Option 2 – Move with Tua.
This is the more intriguing option. The Tagovailoas are an extremely close-knit family. Would they move as a family to whichever NFL city Tua lands in?
Beyond the Cinncinati Bengals, who have the first pick and are expected to select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, the teams at the top of the draft order with the most need for a quarterback are the Miami Dolphins at pick five and the Los Angeles Chargers at pick six. Should the Carolina Panthers move on from Auburn legend Cam Newton, they will be looking for a quarterback at pick seven.
The Indianapolis Colts and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could also try to move up into the top of the draft to select Tua.
The University of Miami: Tua to the Dolphins makes a ton of sense, and it could provide an opportunity for Taulia. Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz desperately needs to get the quarterback situation settled at The U. The Tagovailoas taking over the south Florida football scene would be an epic storyline.
UCLA: Alabama native Philip Rivers is nearing the end of his career with the Chargers, so they should be in the market for a quarterback in the draft. A move to Los Angeles naturally brings UCLA into play as a potential transfer option. Incumbent starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson has two more years of eligibility, but his 2,701 passing yards this season are not particularly intimidating. Chip Kelly could use an infusion of excitement into his Bruins’ program.
Charlotte: Head coach Will Healy is one of college football’s rising stars. He took Charlotte to its first-ever bowl game this year and would welcome a player of Taulia’s stature as he continues to elevate his program. If the Carolina Panthers decide to swap out one legendary quarterback who played football in the state of Alabama for another, this could be a great option.
USF: It remains to be seen if the Buccaneers want to commit to Jameis Winston or whether they want to make a run at trading up to take Tua. If they did, USF would seem to be the perfect destination for Taulia. New head coach Jeff Scott takes over after having coached Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence at Clemson. Taulia would be a big get for Scott.
Purdue: The Colts have made it known they are in the market for a new quarterback. Indy has a front office among the league’s best and an offensive line solidified for the next decade. The combination of those two things make it a highly desirable destination for Tua. It is a bit more of a riddle for Taulia, though. Purdue, an hour and change drive from Indianapolis, stands as the best option with the offensive-minded Jeff Brohm as head coach and decent competition in the Big Ten.
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia