Tagovailoa Quarterbacks Take Center Stage: Brothers Ballin’ For Real

The quarterback brothers known as the #Tagovailoas (Tua and Taulia) took center stage last weekend, both starting games for their respective teams.

The elder Tua, the No. 5 overall pick in the NFL Draft, finally got the nod for the Miami Dolphins. His first game action since he suffered a severe hip injury last November as the Heisman-bound star for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

And his younger brother Taulia, who won the starting job at Maryland after transferring from Alabama following his freshman season, has gone from third-string QB at the perennial SEC powerhouse to top billing in the ACC with the Terrapins.

Their parents traveled from College Park MD to Miami, FL in a four-day whirlwind of faith, prayer, flights, anxiety and COVID-19 testing, to see their sons perform.

The Tagovailoas are from Ewa Beach, Hawaii and have loved the game of football all their lives. Their dad Galu began teaching them the game at a young age and they excelled at it early. But the foundation of their athletic excellence has always been the “FAITH” instilled in them by their parents. Tua was once a heralded recruit of USC and it’s then-head coach Steve Sarkisian (Currently The Alabama OC).

He won the Elite 11 QB challenge in 2016 which pits the best 11 high school signal callers against each other in a week-long skills competition at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton Oregon. He nearly chose USC over BAMA in 2016-17 but said his Dad greatly influenced the decision to pick Tuscaloosa over Los Angeles.

Tua was a backup to Jalen Hurts his entire freshman season. Then everything changed on one magical night, during the 2017-18 National Title game. Tua came off the bench and leading the Crimson Tide back from a 20-7 deficit to a walk-off 26-23 OT win on a 41-yard touchdown toss to wide receiver DeVonta Smith on a play called “SEATTLE.”

The rest is history and he solidified the starting position entering next season with his dramatic win. But get this, before that fate-changing half of football, Tua was growing increasingly frustrated with his lack of playing time and inquired about transferring to USC following the season. Bama czar Nick Saban basically forced Hurts to transfer to Oklahoma for his final season and handed the keys to “The Standard” program in college football to Tua.

Tua would go onto have two of the most successful seasons in CFB history. He’d lead Alabama to the 2018-19 National Title game while finishing second in the 2018 Heisman Trophy race to Kyler Murray. In 2019-20 he would’ve probably finished second again to Joe Burrow if not for a career-threatening hip injury, reminiscent of the one that ended the great Bo Jackson’s career prematurely.

Tua went through aggressive rehab to be drafted #5 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft and after starting the season as the backup to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, he was named the starter during the team’s bye week. In his first start last weekend for the surprising 3-3 Dolphins, the defense of head coach Brian Flores stepped up and made it so Tua didn’t need to do too much as the Fins blitzed the Rams and quarterback Jared Goff into submission.

Quick side note:  Flores was also the defensive mastermind behind the Patriots 13-3 SB win over the Rams two seasons ago.

Tagovailoa passed for a paltry 93 yards and a touchdown in their 28-17 win. But what impressed was how good he moved around on his surgically repaired hip. The future is bright in South Beach with a ton of future draft capital and a QB who looks ready to lead his franchise for years to come.

Tua’s second career start comes this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, where he can get some revenge against Murray for that 2018 Heisman L.

The Other Talented Tagovailoa

In College Park MD there was a buzz surrounding the younger Taulia Tagovailoa, who’d won the starting position after transferring to UMD. This transfer came as a surprise to many, but not me.

Maryland head coach Mike Locksley helped recruit the former Thompson High School star to Tuscaloosa during his time as the program’s offensive coordinator. It wasn’t a hard sell with Taulia’s big brother already solidified as a star and his family being residents of Tuscaloosa.

In his first start at Northwestern, Tualia struggled mightily as did the entire Terps team losing 43-3 while he tossed three really bad interceptions. Many of the talking heads were calling for him to benched in favor of former (NetFlix QB1 star Lance LeGendre). But “Locks” said he isn’t making a change after one game, showing his trust in “Lia” as he’s called by teammates.

That trust paid off in a big way last Friday night as the Terps scored the last 24 of the game’s final 30 points to upset the Golden Gophers of Minnesota 45-44 in OT.

It was Lia’s coming out party as he accounted for 5 total touchdowns (3 Passing and 2 Rushing) to go along with 394 yards passing and 64 yards rushing. He gets a chance to prove that his Friday Night Lights show was not a fluke as Maryland (1-1) will face a desperate Penn State squad (0-2) on Saturday at 3:30 pm in Happy Valley.

At the end of the day, the Tagovailoas are living the dream of having two sons lead teams, one on the professional level and the other on the collegiate level. Their deep “FAITH and belief in a higher being has long carried this family and that won’t change anytime soon as these brothers continue to carve out their own paths in football and life.