Potential Landing Spots for Taulia Tagovailoa
Taulia Tagovailoa officially entered the transfer portal Friday afternoon, as first reported by Matt Zenitz.
Now, this didn't shock anyone keeping even the faintest eye on Crimson Tide football. Beating Mac Jones for the starting gig in 2020 was going to be a large enough task on its own, but the addition of five-star quarterback Bryce Young practically put the proverbial writing on the wall.
The next tell tale all along was the rumor that Taulia, along with the Tagovailoa family, would follow Tua Tagovailoa to his NFL destination. Rumors of Taulia joining the Miami Hurricanes program have been all but shouted across the football world since the Miami Dolphins were first tied to the slogan "Tank for Tua" early in the 2019 season. As fate would have it, the Dolphins did indeed select Tua with the 5th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
But where does Taulia Tagovailoa truly go from here?
First a brief disclaimer: Taulia isn't compelled to leave the Alabama football program. He can still return to the Tide any time he chooses. Still, the expectation is he will head to a new team for the remainder of his college football career.
After all, transfer quarterbacks have been all the rage lately in college football. The Oklahoma Sooners's last three starting quarterbacks (Mayfield, Murray and Hurts) were all transfers who found great success. Ohio State is glowing with Justin Fields. (We don't have to talk about Joe Burrow and LSU if we don't want to.)
So, now, excluding Alabama, where will Taulia Tagovailoa play college ball in 2020? Here's five potential spots for the young Hawaiian.
We'll start with the least sexy pick of the bunch. That should come with an asterik. Florida International's 2019 quarterback, James Morgan, was selected with the 125th pick by the New York Jets.
That said, Morgan is just one of two QBs all-time to be drafted from FIU. Plus, despite Morgan's skill set, the Panthers only averaged 213 yards and one touchdown per game through the air.
Still, FIU is just about 20 miles from Miami Beach and the QB spot is wide open. Not the likeliest option, but a dark horse destination, FIU remains.
If Lane Kiffin were still the head coach at Florida Atlantic, this would be a very serious possibility. Still, Willie Taggart is a well known name in college football who made that name as a quarterbacks coach.
The quarterback position isn't wide open though. Chris Robison led the Owls to an 11-3 record with his 28 touchdown passes as a sophomore.
If Taulia isn't aiming to have a real-deal competition to be a starter, this isn't the best fit, although it is a job he could, theoretically, win.
Oh yeah, FAU's campus is a crisp 30 miles from Miami Beach.
The situation at UCF is comparably similar to that of FAU. The Knights have been college football's darling program for years now, and after another 10-win season, UCF will continue to be a destination for many top prospects.
Taulia would have to compete with freshman Dillon Gabriel, who had a sensational first season. That is, unless McKenzie Milton is cleared to play once again, in which case he's the man no question.
UCF is a whopping 230 miles from Miami Beach. There may be a handful of deterrents, but playing for a successful program will certainly be on the Tagovailoas' wish list.
To many, this is the destination. However, there are plenty of reasons it actually isn't the best option for Taulia.
For starters, the team has a starter. A transfer starter, to be exact, from Houston's D'Eriq King. Behind him is N'Kosi Perry, a player who has seen the field and shown some promise. It wouldn't make too much sense to move from one crowded quarterback room to another.
Not to mention, head coach Manny Diaz is likely one more poor season away from a change of scenery.
Still, Miami is on location with his family and is a prominent program. It remains an option, but I wouldn't count it actually happening.
Yeah. Gainesville may be the furthest away on this list (340 miles), but it has more positive reinforcement than the other options on this list.
Quarterback Kyle Trask is the starter, but he's a senior who, to be fair, has seen his fair of injuries in the past. Now, highly touted backup Emory Jones is waiting in the wings. However, we've seen him run the ball (60 attempts) more than pass it (54 attempts.) That means the 2021 job is potentially wide open.
To that point, what better coach would you want to play for as a quarterback than Dan Mullen? Say what you will, he's got the keys to unlocking the most from his quarterbacks.
On top of all of that, Florida is the best program on this list by, say, 340 miles. That goes a long way for the Tagovailoas. The Gators aren't a school being mentioned much in this race, but they certainly have a real chance to land Taulia Tagovailoa by the end of the offseason.