Tua Tagovoailoa has reached a critical point in an NFL career that has yet to deliver on the hype following being drafted by the Miami Dolphins. Tua was the fifth overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, and despite the accolades he received during his last season in college, life at the next level has been a tough second act.
In 2017, Tagovailoa was the backup to Alabama sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts. However, he experienced significant playing time due to a couple of blowout victories for the Crimson Tide.
On September 9th, he made his collegiate debut against Fresno State in a home game at Bryant–Denny Stadium. In the 41–10 victory, he finished six of nine for 64 yards and his first career passing touchdown. On September 23, in a 59–0 victory against Vanderbilt, he got more playing time and recorded 103 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.
On January 8th, 2018, he replaced Hurts in the second half of the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship due to ineffective play by Hurts. Tua would score the game-winner with a 41-yard touchdown pass in overtime.
The Crimson Tide defeated the Georgia Bulldogs; 26–23 claiming their 17th National Championship. He finished the game 14-of-24 for 166 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and one interception, along with 27 rushing yards on 12 attempts.
Tua would be named the Offensive MVP of the game.
“With The Fifth Pick In The 2020 NFL Draft, The Miami Dolphins Select Tua Tagovailoa” is our new favorite song 😁
📺 Watch the Draft on NFLN/ESPN/ABC pic.twitter.com/MSqzdYJ9TK
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 24, 2020
Tagovailoa made his NFL debut in a week six game against the New York Jets, coming in relief of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter of a 24–0 win where he threw two passes for nine yards. His NFL appearance was the first for a left-handed quarterback since Kellen Moore in 2015. During the team’s bye week, Tagovailoa was named the starter for their week eight game against the Los Angeles Rams.
On Tagovailoa’s first career pass attempt as a starter, he was sacked by perennial All-Pro Aaron Donald. Later in the game, Tagovailoa recorded his first career touchdown on a pass to DeVante Parker.
It is a tired sentiment at this point, but it truly could be a make or break season for Tua in Miami. The Dolphins have given him every offensive tool to be successful in South Beach. If the results don’t come to fruition now, it’s fair to believe they will not.
After an NFL career that has been an equal mix of success and failure, Tua Tagovailoa needs to get it done in Miami. If he can’t, the balance of his career will be as a backup quarterback. Shattering the hopes of what could have been a great professional career.