The highest-rated quarterback ever to come out of Hawaii is headed to the top collegiate program in the country.
Saint Louis junior Tua Tagovailoa made it official on Monday, wrapping up his recruiting process early by committing to Alabama in a decision made public on the KHON2 6 p.m. newscast.
Tagovailoa, who held 19 scholarship offers, had whittled it down to a final six of Alabama, Hawaii, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, USC, and UCLA.
The Crimson Tide, who have won three of the last five and four of the last seven national titles, offered Tagovailoa in early March. Up to that point, Tagovailoa said he was only focused on playing on the West Coast. Last month, he visited SEC country and took in Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss. By the time he was ready to leave the Alabama campus, his decision had been made.
“It was a hard decision but I chose Alabama because I went there and made so many friends so fast and it was kind of like a connection with the guys who would take me to church with them and take me to bible studies,” Tagovailoa told the Star-Advertiser. “It’s all in my line of how my parents want me to go about doing things.”
Tagovailoa will be the first player from Hawaii to play for Alabama since place-kicker Peter Kim, a Kaiser graduate, lettered from 1980 to ’82.
Currently 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, Tagovailoa will enter his senior season at Saint Louis with 5,503 passing yards and 57 touchdowns and 1,034 rushing yards with 19 more TDs on the ground. He needs 2,499 yards to eclipse the state’s career passing mark held by another Saint Louis great, Timmy Chang.
Tagovailoa is the highest-rated high school senior for the class of 2017 from Hawaii and also the first of the state’s top recruits to make his decision.
“I wanted to keep a relationship with the coaches who had recruited me … and I felt the need that if I were to make a commitment today, it would make it easier for their recruiting as well,” Tagovailoa said. “You don’t want to ruin relationships by come Signing Day signing with another school and they don’t sign a quarterback for their class and out of respect I wanted to (make my decision) earlier.”
Tagovailoa says he plans to graduate in December so he can enroll at Alabama in January.