It’s becoming a bit of a pipeline, this Hawaii-quarterbacks-to-the-Sunshine-State thing.
Florida Atlantic became the latest university to become entranced with Kapolei quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, offering him a scholarship on Thursday.
The connection to FAU is new head coach Lane Kiffin, who was Alabama’s offensive coordinator. Alabama was the first to offer a scholarship to Tagovailoa, a sophomore, during his freshman year. That offer was on the heels of an offer to Tagovailoa’s older brother, Tua, who is currently enrolled at Alabama.
With this fifth offer to Taulia, Kiffin has basically verified what fans and recruiters in the islands already knew: Taulia Tagovailoa is a future FBS signal-caller.
At FAU, former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weiss is on staff.
“I think it’s a blessing. I’ve seen what Lane Kiffin did at Alabama, what he did with Jalen Hurts,” Taulia said Thursday night. “Everything he does, I really look forward to that. Charlie is a good guy.”
Taulia is more of a pure pocket passer, which would seem to be ideal in the kind of packages Kiffin is known for. For now, rumors have persisted that the young passer would follow former Kapolei offensive coordinator — and ex-Hawaii/SMU/NFL coach — June Jones to Saint Louis. Jones was hired there as a Director of Athletics Development two months ago. The story goes that if Taulia can’t bypass the mandatory one-year sit-out required of all incoming high school transfers to ILH D-I programs, he and his family may move to Alabama.
“Congratulations to Coach June. He’s an awesome guy. Working with him was a blessing. As of right now, I’m just trying to get ready for my junior year. I let my parents handle all that, where I’m going to stay,” he said. “Saint Louis got a good (administrator). I wish him the best. I love that guy so much.”
Florida is also home to recent Mililani graduate McKenzie Milton, who won the starting quarterback job at Central Florida this past season as a true freshman.
Taulia set all kinds of school passing records in two seasons at Kapolei and is on pace to shatter the all-time state marks set by brother Tua, who played three seasons at Saint Louis. Taulia led Kapolei to an upset win over Punahou in the HHSAA Open Division quarterfinal round and finished his sophomore season with 3,919 passing yards and 42 touchdowns with just nine interceptions on 320-for-526 passing. The majority of the receiving corps will return next fall: Wyatt Perez, Kaeo Alvarez-Ranan, Isaiah Ahana and more, including 6-foot-4 speedster Marquis Montgomery.