Saying, “I think this is the best thing for me and my family to do,” quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said he will forego his senior season at the University of Alabama to submit his name for the NFL Draft.
“With lots of prayers, thoughts and guidance, I have decided that I will be declaring and entering the 2020 NFL Draft,” he said at a press conference in Tuscaloosa. “I have had a difficult time making this decision about my future,” Tagovailoa said.
The 21-year old Saint Louis School graduate is projected to be a first round pick when the annual draft begins April 23 in Las Vegas.
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Tagovailoa gained national attention and legendary status at Alabama in 2018 coming off the bench as a freshman in the second half to rally Alabama to a dramatic victory over Georgia in the College Football Playoff national championship game.
This year he had been seen as a possible No. 1 selection prior to suffering a season-ending fractured hip in the Crimson Tide’s Nov. 16 victory at Mississippi State.
“I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to play this upcoming season, but I think for me, right now, I’m more worried about getting better as soon as possible, seeing what I can do (in pre-draft workouts and physical exams),” Tagovailoa said. “It’s all dependent on what the doctors have to say to the teams and what the results come back as.”
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has projected Tagovailoa as the third overall pick while fellow network analyst Todd McShay listed Tagovailoa as 12th.
Tagovialoa said, “My love for the University of Alabama, our coaches, our fans and my teammates has made this especially hard for me. I have had the advice and counsel of my parents. my family and my coaches going through a thorough analysis.”
Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban said Tagovailoa had had a huge impact in his three years at Alabama, “As any player that we have ever had and I’m not just talking about as a football player. He’s got great character, he’s a great leader, he’s done a wonderful job in the classroom. There’s a wonderful spirit about him that has impacted myself and everybody around him in a very, very positive way. “
Saban said, “He’s had great accomplishments on the field but you probably don’t fully understand the significance of the contributions he has made off the field with his teammates and the people who are around him every day. An unbelievable positive spirit.”