Former Saint Louis and Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa will be named the Miami Dolphins starting quarterback, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Tagovailoa, who was the Dolphins’ first-round draft pick and the fifth overall selection in the NFL Draft, made his debut against the New York Jets on Sunday.
He entered the game with 2:27 left to play with the Dolphins up 24-0. He was 2-for-2 for 9 yards, converting Miami’s only third-down conversion in the game.
The Dolphins are 3-3 and have a bye this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has started the first six games for Miami and has positioned the Dolphins in second place behind Buffalo (4-2) in the AFC’s Eastern Division. The veteran quarterback has been a mentor to Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa will make his starting debut on Nov. 1 against the Los Angeles Rams in Miami.
With the Dolphins comfortably ahead against the Jets on Sunday, Tagovailoa entered the game and saw the field for the first time in his pro career.
According to ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe, the Dolphins’ fan base erupted in cheers and chanted “Tua” as their potential franchise quarterback entered. Even Fitzpatrick encouraged the crowd.
“I definitely could hear it. There’s nothing else playing in the stadium, so I could hear that,” Tagovailoa said of the fans’ reaction (the attendance was listed at 10,772 at Miami Gardens). “And that was awesome. But to just be out there with my teammates, being my first time, and getting the support and love from them, I think that was super awesome.”
The left-hander was the fifth overall selection in the April NFL Draft, behind No. 1 selection Joe Burrow by Cincinnati and before No. 6 pick Justin Herbert by the Los Angeles Chargers. Both quarterbacks have become started and experienced statistical success on the field.
Tagovailoa burst onto the scene in college football’s national championship game against Georgia in 2018 (2017 season), when he came off the bench after halftime to lead the Tide to a stunning overtime victory, throwing a 41-yard walk-off touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith for the 26-23 win.
But in 2019, Tagovailoa, who was projected as the top pick, suffered a dislocated hip, broken nose and concussion while being tackled by two players in a game against Mississippi State in November.
Tagovailoa will become the first left-handed quarterback to play in a game since Michael Vick in 2015. The most recent lefty QB was was Kellen Moore, who retired in 2017.