Tua Tagovailoa Overcomes Adversity
Tua Tagovailoa was drafted with the fifth pick of the 2020 NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins this past Thursday night. Tagovailoa cashes in on a dream that he's had for a long time to play in the NFL and to be a high draft pick. However his path to get to this point has not been the easiest, he has overcome numerous obstacles to become the first Crimson Tide quarterback to be drafted in the first round since 1976.
The Hawaiian quarterback endured his entire freshman year as a backup quarterback despite most reports that he was a more talented passer than starting quarterback Jalen Hurts. He was a five-star recruit and ranked the top dual-threat quarterback in the country by the 247Sports Composite.
He played in eight games as a substitute in 2017 completing 63% of his passes for 636 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. Tagovailoa was tempted to transfer out of the Crimson Tide program but instead become a legend by completing a national championship game winning comeback against Georgia.
He went into the spring that season primed to claim the starting job but instead broke a finger and then suffered a setback on his throwing hand, causing him to miss the 2018 ADay game.
Tagovailoa did end up seizing the starting role but in an October game against Arkansas he suffered a sprained right knee. He battled through the knee injury the rest of the season taking shots in both the Tennessee and LSU games.
The popular quarterback endured a right-quad injury to his left leg that caused him to leave the Mississippi State game, however he would come back and start the next week against Mercer.
Tagovailoa, struggling with his mobility late in the 2018 season had his right foot stepped on in the SEC championship game against Georgia. He suffered a high ankle sprain and missed the remainder of the game. This was became the first "tight-rope" procedure he would opt for, strengthening the ankle and speeding up his recovery process.
The star quarterback had a smooth offseason in large part due to transforming himself into a leaner and healthier player. However in the fall of 2019 he once again suffered a high ankle sprain on his left foot. He opted for a second "tight-rope" procedure in order to strengthen the ankle and return to the Crimson Tide as soon as possible.
Four weeks later Tagovailoa was tackled at the end of the first half in Starkville, Mississippi. He not only suffered a broken nose, but more importantly he endured a dislocated hip as well as a hip fracture.
The final injury ended his Crimson Tide career and put his filled his path to the NFL draft with question marks. He was unable to compete at the NFL Combine due to his injury. His Wonderlic score was incorrectly reported, many scouts questioned if they would draft him at all with his extensive injury history.
A week before his virtual pro day Nashville, the city where he was training, was struck by tornadoes. Tagovailoa's vehicle was totaled in the storm, just adding an extra hurdle to his pre-draft process.
Each step of the way Tagovailoa has been a shining example of a positive spirit. He now faces a new challenge, turning around a football team that went 5-11 last season and has only had four playoff appearances in the last 20 years.
Rest assured the record-breaking Alabama quarterback will take on this new challenge head on and put in the hard work with a smile that his become his trademark over the course of his college career.