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Tua Tagovailoa, the University of Alabama's heralded five-star quarterback from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, threw the winning 41-yard touchdown in overtime early Tuesday to give Alabama its fifth national championship in nine years.
Below are five things to know about Tagovailoa:
@tuaaamann_ putting on a Christmas concert for the coaches after practice!! pic.twitter.com/XjWJGrkxcH— Coach Brent Key (@CoachBrentKey) December 22, 2017
The nation’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2017 became Hawaii’s career leader in passing yards, as he eclipsed former Saint Louis High School (Honolulu) quarterback Timmy Chang’s record of 8,001 yards. Tagovailoa left Hawaii with 8,158 passing yards and 84 touchdowns along with 1,727 rushing yards and 27 scores to give him 111 career touchdowns.
Tagovailoa willed the Saint Louis Crusaders to a 30-14 win in the state championship game against Kahuku, the No. 1 team in the state, at Aloha Stadium in his final game of high school.
Tagovailoa was named the Elite 11 MVP, which is one of the most prestigious awards a prep quarterback can receive, in the summer of 2016. Tagovailoa became the second Alabama quarterback to win the award, as former Tide signal-caller Blake Barnett won in 2014.
USC was Tagovailoa’s leader to get his commitment for more than a year before Alabama came calling. USC was the school Tagovailoa saw himself attending.
That changed when his family made a southern swing where he saw Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss. He fell in love with Alabama. After that visit in the spring of 2016, the Crimson Tide became the behind-the-scenes favorite until he committed in May 2016.
Tagovailoa and Najee Harris, a Class of 2017 five-star running back out of Antioch (Calif.) High School, developed a strong bond when they were recruits. The friendship really took off when both were at Nike’s The Opening camp in Oregon, which is where Tagovailoa was given the Elite 11 MVP.
“He’s an awesome guy — a great guy,” Harris told SEC Country in July 2016. “I went to his room to go over some plays, and we ended up talking about God. He’s just a great person. I have much respect to Tua.”
Both Tagovailoa and Harris are deeply committed to their faith.
Tagovailoa isn’t the only impressive football player in the family. His brother, Taulia, is rated as the nation’s No. 8 dual-threat quarterback in the 2019 class. He already holds an Alabama offer.
Taulia wanted to commit to Alabama when he received an offer from the Tide in July 2016, but his parents told him that he was too young to make a big decision like that. But that hasn’t stopped Taulia from thinking about Alabama nonstop. When asked if he still wanted to play for the Tide, Taulia responded immediately.
“Oh, heck yeah,” Taulia told SEC Country. “When Tua went up there, he didn’t want to come back home. He came back and was telling me all of these crazy things like how he got to meet Coach [Nick] Saban. I have only seen that guy in movies it seems like, and for me to see him taking pictures with Mom, Dad and Tua, it was just crazy.”