If you are a fan of college football or the NFL, you might have heard of the name Tagovailoa. It belongs to two talented quarterbacks who have made their mark in the sport: Tua Tagovailoa and Taulia Tagovailoa. But are they related? And how did they end up playing for different teams? Here is a brief overview of their story.
The Tagovailoa Family
Tua and Taulia are brothers, born to Galu and Diane Tagovailoa, who are of Samoan descent. They grew up in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, where they learned to play football from their father, who was a former high school quarterback.
Tua is the older brother, born on March 2, 1998. He was a star at Saint Louis School in Honolulu, where he led his team to a state championship and was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Hawaii. He was also a four-star recruit and one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. He committed to play for the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2017.
Taulia is the younger brother, born on February 26, 2000. He also attended Saint Louis School for his freshman year, but then moved with his family to Alabaster, Alabama, when Tua enrolled at Alabama. He transferred to Thompson High School, where he became one of the best quarterbacks in the state. He broke several records and won two state titles. He was also a four-star recruit and followed his brother’s footsteps by committing to Alabama in 2019.
The College Careers
Tua had a remarkable college career at Alabama, where he became one of the most decorated players in school history. He led the Crimson Tide to a national championship in 2017, coming off the bench as a freshman to throw the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime against Georgia. He was also a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2018 and 2019, and won several awards, including the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Award, and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He finished his career with 7,442 passing yards, 87 passing touchdowns, and only 11 interceptions. He also ran for 340 yards and nine touchdowns.
Taulia had a different college experience than his brother. He spent his freshman year at Alabama as a backup to Tua and Mac Jones. He played in five games and completed nine of 12 passes for 100 yards and one touchdown. However, after Tua declared for the NFL draft and Jones emerged as the starter, Taulia decided to transfer to Maryland in 2020.
At Maryland, Taulia found more playing time and success. He started in all four games he played in 2020, leading the Terrapins to a 2-2 record. He threw for 1,011 yards, seven touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also ran for 47 yards and two touchdowns. He ranked among the top five in the Big Ten in several passing categories, such as yards per completion, passing efficiency, and yards per pass attempt. He was named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention at the end of the season.
In 2021, Taulia had a breakout year at Maryland. He started in all 13 games and led the Terrapins to their first winning season since 2014 and their first bowl bid since 2016. He threw for 3,008 yards, 18 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He also ran for 111 yards and three touchdowns. He broke the Maryland single-season and all-time school records for completions and passing yards and tied the single-season touchdowns record. He was again named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention and also earned Pinstripe Bowl MVP honors after leading Maryland to a 54-10 win over Virginia Tech.
The NFL Prospects
Tua was drafted by the Miami Dolphins with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. He became the second-highest drafted quarterback from Alabama, behind only Joe Namath. He made his NFL debut on October 18, 2020, against the New York Jets. He became the starter on November 1, 2020, against the Los Angeles Rams. In his rookie season, he played in 10 games and threw for 1,814 yards, 11 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He also ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns. He led the Dolphins to a 10-6 record, but they missed the playoffs.
Taulia is still in college, but he has already generated some buzz as a potential NFL prospect. He is eligible for the 2022 NFL draft, but he could also return to Maryland for another season. He is considered a dual-threat quarterback with a strong arm, good accuracy, and quick feet. He has also shown improvement in his decision-making, pocket presence, and leadership skills. However, he also faces some questions about his size, consistency, and level of competition. He is currently projected as a mid-to-late round pick or an undrafted free agent.
Tua and Taulia Tagovailoa are brothers who share a passion for football and a talent for playing quarterback. They have both achieved remarkable feats in their careers, but they have also taken different paths to get there. They have shown that they are not just related, but also unique and independent individuals who can make their own mark in the sport.