Tua Tagovailoa Forgoes Senior Year, Declares for 2020 NFL Draft

ASSOCIATED PRESS / Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa announces his intentions to declare for the 2020 NFL draft today in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

It would have made no sense for Tua Tagovailoa to return for a final college season with a surgically-repaired hip.

It would have made total sense if Tagovailoa had been the only draft-eligible Heisman Trophy runner-up/All-American/national championship quarterback/potential No. 1 overall pick to stay in college on crutches.

Both those statements can be true after the monumental Monday that altered the fortunes of Tagovailoa, his family, Alabama, the NFL, the SEC, and yes, all of college football.

Tagovailoa formally declared for the NFL Draft, forgoing his senior season at Alabama. Except the decision clearly wasn’t that easy after watching Alabama’s forever quarterback at the podium.


“These kind of things don’t take the doctors, don’t really take myself [in account],” Tagovailoa said. “It really boils down to one thing: faith. Coming from a family that has a lot of it, I’m willing to take that challenge.”

That’s what it is: faith that he can play football at a high level again. The future may be lucrative with first-round money, but it certainly isn’t clear. In fact, nothing from this point is assured.

Tagovailoa enters the professional realm having recovered from two surgically repaired ankles. The dislocated hip has complicated things further. Tagovailoa’s conviction is one thing, finding an NFL team that has enough faith to draft him with a high selection is another.

Perhaps the greatest player in Alabama history may be a tremendous risk, “damaged goods” at the next level. The NFL potential after his all-time greatness at Bama remains a tease for the pros.

CBS Sports NFL Draft expert Ryan Wilson has projected Tagovailoa going No. 5 overall in the first round to the Dolphins in his latest mock draft. That includes the possibility of the quarterback “redshirting” in 2020 as part of his rehab, Wilson said.

Tagovailoa mentioned more than once that the 3-4 month mark since the injury will be his next indicator. That’s when doctors will tell him how far he has progressed. The quarterback already said last month that he would lose what he called “some inward rotation.”

“I don’t think I’d say I’d be the same again,” Tagovailoa said ominously at that time.

“I don’t think any of the doctors can tell the foreseeable future,” he said Monday. “None of the guys rehabbing me can tell that.”

That’s what made Monday’s decision the best-case scenario for Tagovailoa. If he’s going to play football, he might as well get paid for it.

“It’s a unique situation, for sure,” he said. “With my hip, a lot of the [general managers], the owners … they kind of look at this like a knee injury. ‘Are we going to take a chance on this guy? Is this guy going to be able to do a pro day before the draft?'”

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