After spending time studying Tua Tagovailoa this offseason, David Cutcliffe knew his Duke defense was in for a long day facing Alabama’s standout junior signal-caller. Despite all his film study, the Duke coach still couldn’t scheme up a way to slow down Alabama’s quarterback.

Tagovailoa finished 26 of 31 for 336 yards and four touchdowns in Alabama’s season-opening 42-3 win over Duke on Saturday. Much as he did most of last season, Tagovailoa accomplished those stats despite sitting out the fourth quarter of the game.

After getting his first chance to watch Tua in person, the noted quarterback guru was very impressed with the young quarterback.

“He is incredible. I think he’s going to be a great quarterback this year, and he will play in the NFL for a long time,” Cutcliffe said of Tagovailoa following Duke’s opening-season loss.

Considering Cutcliffe coached first-round draft picks Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Daniel Jones during their college careers, his word counts for much more than most when it comes to evaluating a signal-caller.