He has played through pain, but no one can question the excitement and efficiency that Tua Tagovailoa provided Alabama’s offense this season as a first-year starting quarterback.
The sophomore has mesmerized fans, compelled media pundits and commanded respect from his contemporaries in the Southeastern Conference. In terms of statistics, Tagovailoa has put together a record-setting year. He became the fourth signal-caller of the Nick Saban era to account for a 3,000-yard passing season; joining former Tide standouts AJ McCarron, Blake Sims and Jacob Coker.
Tagovailoa’s output of 3,353 yards has him second all-time in school history for passing yards in a single-season, falling behind Sims’ mark of 3,487 in 2014.
In one of the most dominant performances in the Iron Bowl, the native Hawaiian turned in a single-game record six touchdowns. His five scoring tosses tied a single game mark as he delivered Alabama to a 52-21 win over Auburn.
While his touchdown to interception ratio of 37 to four is strong, Tagovailoa’s 42 total scores is a single season school record.
Despite not needing more numbers to prove his star power, Tagovailoa is tied for second all-time in career touchdown passes with 48 – putting him in the same category with Jalen Hurts and another former Tide star, John Parker Wilson.
For his efforts, the former five-star and Elite 11 champion was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year on Monday via the Associated Press.
He also joins Jonah Williams (OT), Ross Pierschbacher (center), Jerry Jeudy (WR) and Quinnen Williams (DT) as a first-team All-SEC selection. Alabama carried an SEC-high eight players on the list, with Isaiah Buggs (DE), Raekwon Davis (DE) and Deionte Thompson (S) on the second team.
Tagovailoa was voted Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player by his teammates on Sunday at Alabama’s annual awards banquet in Birmingham.
He is expected to be in New York City this weekend as a finalist for the Heisman Memorial Trophy. While he’ll be able to rest for the next two to three weeks, he is ready for Kyler Murray and the Oklahoma Sooners to start the College Football Playoff on Saturday, Dec. 29.
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