Tua Tagovailoa reveals he planned to leave Alabama if he didn't play in title game
It turns out Lane Kiffin knew what he was talking about all along.
Back in January, the former Alabama offensive coordinator — and Tua Tagovailoa’s recruiter for the Crimson Tide, revealed that the young quarterback would have left Alabama had he not been given a chance to play in 2017.
“If this second half doesn’t flip like this, and Alabama is moving the ball and doesn’t change (quarterbacks), people that really know what’s going on would tell you that Tua was leaving,” Kiffin said during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show. “Because Tua thought that he should be the starting quarterback and had outperformed him in practice and coach never gave him an opportunity.”
Of course, Tua did finally get to see meaningful snaps in the National Championship Game and helped lead Alabama to its latest title over SEC rival Georgia. Those comments were largely brushed off at the time, but Tagovailoa has just confirmed them during a trip back to his home state of Hawaii.
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While speaking to a group of middle schoolers, Tagovailoa revealed his desire to leave Alabama and transfer out to USC — the school he was originally expected to sign with out of high school. This was during the regular season.
“I called my dad and asked him if my offer to the University of Southern California was still available,” Tagovailoa said according to Taryn Hatcher of Hawaii News Now. “I wanted to leave. I told my dad I wanted to go to a school where I thought it’d be easier for me and wouldn’t challenge me so much.”
Apparently, Tagovailoa still had intentions of leaving Alabama heading into the National Championship Game. This was after he was expected to see action against Clemson in the National Semifinal but did not. Based on these comments, not only was Alabama’s season saved in the second half thanks to Tua’s performance, the future of the program’s quarterback position may have been decided thanks to that half of football.
“Even throughout my football season, I wasn’t the starter,” Tagovailoa added. “I wanted to leave the school. So I told myself if I didn’t play in the last game, which was the National Championship Game, I would transfer out. If I gave in, I don’t think I would have seen the end blessing of where I am now.”
Even though Kiffin hasn’t roamed the sideline in Tuscaloosa for over a year, it appears he’s still very plugged in to the temperature of the program in many aspects.