Sunday, December 29, 2019

Tua Tagovailoa Teases a Return

Will he return for a senior season, or jump to the NFL? The possibility of Bama's most prolific quarterback's return was a topic of some discussion earlier this month.

From his interview with's Cecil Hurt:
“Whatever God puts in my heart and my parents’ hearts, that will be the right thing.”

Tagovailoa, who suffered a hip dislocation in Alabama’s Nov. 16 game at Mississippi State and had hip surgery two days later in Houston, is finishing the semester at Alabama and will take final exams next week.

As far as his decision, Tagovailoa said he was looking “at both sides of the spectrum.”

“There is a risk and a reward if I stay and a risk and a reward if I go,” Tagovailoa said.
Tua was later seen at post-season workouts either on a scooter, cart or crutches (practices are allowed by NCAA rules for teams eligible for bowl games), and speculation on message boards, talk radio and social media ran rampant. The man has always been the consummate team player and told people that he was there to show solidarity with his teammates.

Board chatter made mention of the fact that he truly enjoys collegiate life and really likes being on campus with his younger brother, 2019 freshman Taulia.

Then yesterday during the College Football Playoff semi-finals in Atlanta and Tempe, Tua dropped this cryptic message on his Instagram feed:

I think he wants to come back, but his decision might hinge on how other players decide between now and January 20, the drop dead day for commitment to forgo collegiate eligibility. If a whole bunch of top-drawer players decide to bug out and register for the NFL draft, it could push him deep into the 1st round; possibly early 2nd (No way he gets drafted late 2nd).  That scenario makes a return to Tuscaloosa more likely. 

What makes a return even more likely? The fact that even an athlete of his prowess will not be able to participate fully in the NFL Combine or late winter/early spring private workouts. Rehabbing a dislocated hip and pelvic fracture is a months-long, grueling affair. Even if he does return for the 2020 season we won't see much of him in the spring drills or A-Day game.

Coach Nick Saban and his staff have an excellent track record of advising players about the decision to go pro or come back for their senior year. The severity of the injury and the progress of the recovery will complicate things a bit, but it's not like Tua is rolling loaded dice. He'll receive wise counsel.

My hunch is that he plays for Alabama again in 2020 just because of the uncertainty associated with the progress of the rehab.

Cover Photo via Sports Illustrated 


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