Tongue Oh Vae Loa is how new Alabama Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa told us on ESPN to pronounce his last name.
Tua Tagovailoa signed with Alabama as the number one dual threat Quarterback in the nation from Honolulu, Hawaii. That took some courage on his part since Alabama played true freshman Quarterback Jalen Hurts last season on their way to the national title game.
Hurts proved the pundits wrong last season that had him misplaced as the 13th best Dual Threat Quarterback in the nation. He played in his first game as a true freshman and soon took over the starting job leaving former starter, Blake Barnett, heading for the hills.
As a true freshman, Hurts threw for 2,780 yards and 23 Touchdowns while running for 954 yards and 13 Touchdowns. His running broke open the LSU game and it made a huge difference the entire season. Make no mistake about it, Jalen Hurts was a dangerous man for any opponent no matter how
good their defense was.
In spite of that, Too Tagovailoa, chose to come and compete with Hurts for playing time at Alabama. Yes, you remember how to say his name. It’s ‘Tongue Oh Vae Loa’.
Get used to saying that name because the kid is good. He’s real good.
Coming from the same high school as Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, the comparisons will become inevitable.
But, you might say that Marcus Mariota opened the door for Tua Tagovailoa.
In the 2011 recruiting class, Mariota was almost an after thought. He was listed at 6-3, 185 and ESPN had him as a 2 star recruit. Even though he had almost sprinters speed and a howitzer for an arm, nobody really recruited this guy and certainly not Alabama. He was rated as the 123rd best Quarterback in the country behind number one guy Jeff Driskel who signed with Florida and Kiehl Frazier who signed with Auburn. Max Wittek was next and he signed with USC.
Braxton Miller was an outstanding Quarterback when he played at Ohio State, and he was next as the number 4 rated Quarterback in the nation.
Christian LeMay was next and he signed with Georgia. Frankly, I have little memory of him and he transferred to Jacksonville State.
Moving on down the list, Teddy Bridgewater signed with Louisville and Charlie Strong and was a 1st round draft pick and he was rated 9th.
Kody Kessler was rated 29th and he obviously beat out 3rd rated Max Wittek who eventually graduated and transferred to Hawaii where he had the same problems he had had at USC which was turning the ball over. He had 7 Touchdown passes with 15 Interceptions in 2015. Quarterbacking days are over for him.
Nick Marshall who eventually would lead the Auburn Tigers to the SEC championship in 2013 was ranked 31st and a 3 star recruit just like Kessler. Cardale Jones was 33rd and he did a pretty good job when he had to play at Ohio State in 2014.
Johnny Manziel was ranked 39th and all he did was win the Heisman Trophy. If of better character, Manziel would be an NFL star right now.
Alabama and Nick Saban signed Phillip Ely in 2011 and he was ranked right behind Manziel at 40th. They had no thought of Marcus Mariota.
Dallas Cowboy star Dak Prescott was next at 41st and that’s all that needs to be said.
Stanford’s long time starter Kevin Hogan was ranked 51st. Michigan State’s three year starter Connor Cook was 53rd.
Alabama national champion Quarterback Jacob Coker was ranked 70th and he signed with Florida State before transferring when beaten out by Heisman winner Jameis Winston.
Finally, Marcus Mariota comes plodding along on the list at an amazing 123rd. I suppose at the time that Hawaii players were just an afterthought. The experts thought there were 122 Quarterbacks better than Mariota.
Nobody really looked at Mariota, but his college play and his NFL play opened eyes for Hawaiian
Nobody was ignoring Tua Tagovailoa now because people realized that Hawaii is not just about beaches and surfing any more.
Tagovailoa was the number one ranked Dual Threat Quarterback in the country made possible by Marcus Mariota. Oregon Duck Quarterback Marcus Mariota, after winning the Heisman Trophy, was a 1st round NFL Draft pick by the Tennessee Titans and he started as a rookie. Mariota was about 6-4, 230 and still supposedly can run the 40 in less than 4.5 seconds.
Tagovailoa is ‘only’ 6-1, 210, but he’s clearly got all the other attributes, very similar to Marcus Mariota. He can throw lasers at 50 yards, or even more, and he can run like a Running Back. Guys like Mariota and Tagovailoa are game changers.
With Tagovailoa at Quarterback, Alabama will have a true dual threat on the field who is able to make plays with his arm and with his feet.
Actually, that’s what they already have with Jalen Hurts.
This could be a great thing for Alabama and Nick Saban, or it could backfire very badly.
Hurts is not going to want to share time with Tagovailoa and should Hurts falter in any way, the loyal fan base will turn on him. The all knowing fan base knows fully well what is best for the team and they are going to be calling for Tagovailoa. They’ve seen him play now and they know he is a talent. Two talented Quarterbacks can sometimes split a team. Hopefully, Nick Saban can control this situation.
But, Tua Tagovailoa will need to play and he will need to play soon.
Tua Tongue Oh Vae Loa is going to be good.