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Sports How Tua Tagovailoa went from Hawaiian star to backup quarterback to Alabama's national championship hero

Tua Tagovailoa was a high school sensation in Hawaii and now appears poised to take over college football after helping Alabama win the championship.

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(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

On Monday, Tua Tagovailoa became an overnight star by helping Alabama win the college football championship, 26-23, over Georgia.

As a freshman at Alabama, Tagovailoa got into games occasionally this season, but he was summoned on the game's biggest stage and delivered, throwing three touchdowns to lead the Crimson Tide to victory.

Now, it appears the young quarterback, who was a sensation in Hawai'i and five-star recruit growing up, is about to become the next big thing in college football.

Here's all about Tagovailoa and the path that led him to his breakout game.

Tua Tagovailoa checked into the second half of the college football championship game on Monday and led Alabama to a 26-23 win.

Tua Tagovailoa checked into the second half of the college football championship game on Monday and led Alabama to a 26-23 win. play

Tua Tagovailoa checked into the second half of the college football championship game on Monday and led Alabama to a 26-23 win.

(Streeter Lecka/Getty)


Tagovailoa threw the game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter, then tossed a gorgeous 41-yard touchdown in overtime to seal the deal.



Tagovailoa's heroic performance may have been destiny. According to a 2015 Sports Illustrated profile, growing up in Hawai'i, Tagovailoa used to sleep with a football in his arms at a young age.

Tagovailoa's heroic performance may have been destiny. According to a 2015 Sports Illustrated profile, growing up in Hawai'i, Tagovailoa used to sleep with a football in his arms at a young age. play

Tagovailoa's heroic performance may have been destiny. According to a 2015 Sports Illustrated profile, growing up in Hawai'i, Tagovailoa used to sleep with a football in his arms at a young age.

(Ryan Wright/YouTube)

Source: Sports Illustrated



In fact, Tagovailoa was football-obsessed from the beginning. He used to go over his rec league games with his grandfather, even once arriving at 3 a.m. for study session.

In fact, Tagovailoa was football-obsessed from the beginning. He used to go over his rec league games with his grandfather, even once arriving at 3 a.m. for study session. play

In fact, Tagovailoa was football-obsessed from the beginning. He used to go over his rec league games with his grandfather, even once arriving at 3 a.m. for study session.

(utrhighlightvideos/YouTube)

Source: Sports Illustrated



According to SI, by his sophomore year, Tagovailoa was 6-foot-1, 210 lb. and an athletic marvel — a big arm, accurate, and quick, with the ability to keep plays alive.

According to SI, by his sophomore year, Tagovailoa was 6-foot-1, 210 lb. and an athletic marvel — a big arm, accurate, and quick, with the ability to keep plays alive. play

According to SI, by his sophomore year, Tagovailoa was 6-foot-1, 210 lb. and an athletic marvel — a big arm, accurate, and quick, with the ability to keep plays alive.

(KHON2 News/YouTube)

Source: Sports Illustrated



Tagovailoa was inspired by the rise of Marcus Mariota, who helped put Hawaiian football on the map. However, according to SI, most thought Tagovailoa was an even better young prospect than Mariota.

Tagovailoa was inspired by the rise of Marcus Mariota, who helped put Hawaiian football on the map. However, according to SI, most thought Tagovailoa was an even better young prospect than Mariota. play

Tagovailoa was inspired by the rise of Marcus Mariota, who helped put Hawaiian football on the map. However, according to SI, most thought Tagovailoa was an even better young prospect than Mariota.

(KHON 2 News/YouTube)

Source: Sports Illustrated



Four games into the 2014 season, he got a recruitment call from UCLA's Jim Mora. He later got recruited by the likes of USC, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, and more.

Four games into the 2014 season, he got a recruitment call from UCLA's Jim Mora. He later got recruited by the likes of USC, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, and more. play

Four games into the 2014 season, he got a recruitment call from UCLA's Jim Mora. He later got recruited by the likes of USC, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, and more.

(KHON2 News/YouTube)

Source: Sports Illustrated



To the surprise of many, Tagovailoa chose Alabama after a visit, citing similar cultural values as Hawai'i. He said he felt comfortable with Alabama.

To the surprise of many, Tagovailoa chose Alabama after a visit, citing similar cultural values as Hawai'i. He said he felt comfortable with Alabama. play

To the surprise of many, Tagovailoa chose Alabama after a visit, citing similar cultural values as Hawai'i. He said he felt comfortable with Alabama.

(Brynn Anderson/AP)

Source: SEC Country



Though Tagovailoa was Jalen Hurts' backup this season, he still got a decent amount of playing time because of Alabama's large margin of victories. He threw 53 passes for 400 yards and rushed another 100 yards during his freshman season.

Though Tagovailoa was Jalen Hurts' backup this season, he still got a decent amount of playing time because of Alabama's large margin of victories. He threw 53 passes for 400 yards and rushed another 100 yards during his freshman season. play

Though Tagovailoa was Jalen Hurts' backup this season, he still got a decent amount of playing time because of Alabama's large margin of victories. He threw 53 passes for 400 yards and rushed another 100 yards during his freshman season.

(Ronald Martinez/Getty)


Tagovailoa isn't just a talented quarterback — he is apparently a great singer, too!

Source: Brent Key



His future is unknown. While Tagovailoa made a strong big to start next season, Alabama may have a tough time turning away from Jalen Hurts.

His future is unknown. While Tagovailoa made a strong big to start next season, Alabama may have a tough time turning away from Jalen Hurts. play

His future is unknown. While Tagovailoa made a strong big to start next season, Alabama may have a tough time turning away from Jalen Hurts.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)


Former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin told Dan Patrick that he thinks Tagovailoa would have left Alabama this offseason if he had not played in the championship game.

Former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin told Dan Patrick that he thinks Tagovailoa would have left Alabama this offseason if he had not played in the championship game. play

Former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin told Dan Patrick that he thinks Tagovailoa would have left Alabama this offseason if he had not played in the championship game.

(Streeter Lecka/Getty)

Source: "Dan Patrick Show"



Either way, Tagovailoa is now a college star, and the football world will be eagerly watching to see what's next.

Now check out how Tua Tagovailoa became the unlikely hero for Alabama's most recent championship. play

Now check out how Tua Tagovailoa became the unlikely hero for Alabama's most recent championship.

(David Goldman/AP)


Now, check out which schools rule college sports...

Now, check out which schools rule college sports... play

Now, check out which schools rule college sports...

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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