Alabama won the national championship on Monday night, defeating Georgia 26-23 in OT. How’d they do it? Well, besides an enormous amount of recruiting power that allows them to build a team as if they were an NFL team that could just pluck the first rounders they wanted every year and the $11 million salary paid to Nick Saban without having to allocate any funds to the players — they also got a second half boost from true freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Learn how to spell that name, because it’s gonna be said a lot over the next few years and it’s a lot harder than “Cardale Jones.”
Saban benched starter Jalen Hurts at halftime and put the freshman, who threw 77 passes in the regular season with 11 touchdowns, two interceptions, and two rushing touchdowns, into the game down 13-0. Tagovailoa went 14-of-24 for 166 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. They outscored Georgia 20-7 in the second half and then down a field goal in OT, Tagovailoa threw this 41-yard game-winner to DeVonta Smith.
Well that was a quick overtime. #CrimsonTide score after a huge sack on this deep pass down the sideline. #UGAvsBAMA #CFBPlayoff pic.twitter.com/fUw2kMgfaP— Samuel Gold (@SamuelRGold) January 9, 2018
During and after the game, Tagovailoa drew comparisons to another quarterback known for late-game heroics: Russell Wilson.
Tagovailoa is said to measure at 6’1, 219, but that could change a little by the time he’s draft eligible in 2020. So he’s got at least a couple inches on Wilson in height. Does he have some or all the other qualities of Wilson, like escapability (we saw some of that on Monday), composure under pressure (yes), a great deep ball (looks it), and a crush on a mid-2000s pop singer? (We’ll see.)
He flashed some quickness, balance and body control with the ball tucked under his arm that will remind some scouts of Russell Wilson on the move. While I’m not ready to proclaim the true freshman a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback, I do believe he possesses a lot of qualities that will lead to more comparisons to the Seahawks’ QB1 in time.
From his unflappable confidence, poise and composure to his pinpoint passing skills in the pocket or on the move, I feel like I saw much the same when I watched Wilson play at N.C. State and Wisconsin several years ago. Considering how Wilson has grown into a dynamic playmaker at the position in Seattle, I believe you’ll see the excitement build around Tagovailoa’s potential in the coming years.
Because of examples like Cardale Jones and so on and so forth, we can’t say too much about how Tagovailoa will turn out after another two years has passed. I mean, we couldn’t even say much if it was only one year away. Tagovailoa could win the Heisman in 2018 or he could get benched like Hurts just was. There’s plenty of time left to go in his college career, and that’s really exciting if you’re a college football fan.
What do you think?
This poll is closed
A lot like Russell Wilson
Nothing like Wilson
Better than Wilson at this stage
It was one half, dude