Miami Dolphins fans, we have your new quarterback. With expectations he would sit out all year, Miami announced Tua Tagovailoa would be their starter coming out of the bye. While the timing is perplexing, with Ryan Fitzpatrick coming off a stretch where he threw for six TDs, two INTs, and 541 yards, it isn’t too shocking. Tua was always the plan, and while Fitzmagic took a bit to get going, if Tua’s ready now, maybe it’s time to see what the Sweet Hawaiian Prince can do.
But how did Tua, and we, get here?
2nd and 26: Tua Tagovailoa’s Coming Out Party
While I didn’t write for Belly Up at the time, 2nd and 26 was my peak in college. It was the second time in a year I had seen my team rip Georgia’s heart out, and it was magical.
Tua came in relief of Jalen Hurts, and helped lead an Alabama comeback drive. After taking a sack, the true freshman showed poise, and threw a strike to Devonta Smith for the win. Everything I could say about this has already been said, so let’s move on.
2018 Was Amazing, Until it Wasn’t
Tua Tagovailoa had an amazing 2018 season. He was efficient, and putting up video game numbers, all while barely playing in the second half. This team was primed for a title run. Then, in the SEC championship, Tua sprained his ankle, and Alabama was down again to the Bulldogs. Jalen Hurts, who decided against transferring after Tua was named starter, came in. After leading the Tide to another comeback against Georgia, Jalen punched Bama’s ticket to the CFP. After handling Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, we were getting Alabama vs Clemson round one billion. The Tide lost, but the next season looked bright for Tua Tagovailoa and the Tide.
Please Don’t Make Me Talk About 2019
Oh god. No, please. No, I don’t want to do it, and you can’t make me.
I won’t do it.
Ok, fine. 2019 was rough. It started out well, and then it all went downhill in the Tennessee game. “But Kevin, Alabama won 38-13. How is that the start of the downfall?” Well, let me tell you nosey reader who isn’t letting me finish. Tua was hobbled with an another ankle injury during that game, and could not finish. With no Jalen Hurts, who was now in Oklahoma, Mac Jones finished the game. The Tide won, and Mac Jones even got his first start the following week, throwing for 253 yards and three TDs. Tua was recovering from a tightrope procedure, and sat out this game.
The following week, the greatest college football team ever (lukewarm take), came to Tuscaloosa. Still not 100%, Tua played well, throwing for 418 yards and four TDs, but the Tide fell to the Tigers 46-41. Then Alabama travelled to Starkvegas, and it happened.
Tua Tagovailoa, our Sweet Hawaiian Prince, dislocated his hip and was out for the year. This was career altering, and there was a chance Tua would never be the same again.
2020 NFL Draft
On January 6th, 2020, Tua declared for the draft. Once thought to be the clear cut number one overall pick, there were questions about where Tua Tagovailoa would land on draft night. Partially due to the injury, partially due to the ascension of Joe Burrow, Tua would not go number one. But how far would he fall? Was he still top ten? Top 20? Would he fall out of the first round entirely? The Dolphins gave us the answer, taking their guy at five, and starting a new era in South Beach.
Where Are We Now?
Well, as I mentioned, Tua is the starter. Apparently Brian Flores saw something in his five plays against the Jets to pull the trigger. Will it work out? I hope so, I love him dearly. But only time will tell.
There you have it. The most talented QB in the draft is your QB1, Miami. To follow my thoughts on his career, and Alabama too, follow me on Twitter (@BellyUpKev). And since you’re already here, why not read some other football blogs.