It wasn’t a typical Wednesday morning on the Saint Louis campus.
It was absolutely memorable as students got out of class briefly. With the high school student body seated in Mamiya Theater and occasionally cheering, representatives of the US Army All-American Bowl presented a jersey to Crusaders senior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He will play in the all-star game in San Antonio on Jan. 7.
“We are proud to have Tua Tagovailoa on our team,” said Sgt. 1st Class Walter Drysdale.
“You just feel the respect up there,” Tagovailoa said after the ceremony.
Tagovailoa, who will enroll at Alabama next month, thanked his parents (Galu and Diane), head coach Cal Lee and the coaching staff, teachers, counselors and teammates. He especially thanked quarterbacks coach Vince Passas.
“He deserves it. From fourth grade, I came to his (Get Better) camps, coming to Saint Louis in seventh grade and having the opportunity to be coached by him,” Tagovailoa said. “Look at all the guys he’s coached like Timmy Chang. They’re coaches now.”
He is the nation’s top prospect among dual-threat quarterbacks and is arguably the best QB outright after earning top honors at the Elite 11 last summer.
Tagovailoa sparked the Crusaders to a 30-14 upset win over top-seeded Kahuku in the Open Division state championship game two weeks ago.
US Army All-American reps also honored his father, Galu, and Saint Louis school. Head coach Cal Lee was invited formally to participate in the bowl’s coaching academy.
Former player Kala McShane, who graduated in 2011, delivered a speech to the student body at the end of the ceremony. He is a motivational speaker, and he had the full attention of all attendees in the theater.
Tagovailoa is one of two Hawaii players who accepted invitations to play in the event. Kamehameha senior Adam Stack was presented with a jersey on Monday.
Galu Tagovailoa said he’s unsure whether Tua would also play in the JPS Paradise Classic and the Polynesian Bowl later in January. Tua will enroll at Alabama in January and they are not sure whether he will be allowed to play in those games.