Alabama quarterback commit Tua Tagovailoa was courted to Tuscaloosa from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, with the help of offensive coordinator and new Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin, but the relationships the Hawaiian star established with other staff members won’t affect his commitment.
Tagovailoa, the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback, told SEC Country that he’s happy that Kiffin got what he wanted — a head coaching gig.
“I’m grateful that he’s got what he’s wanted,” Tagovailoa said. “He’s a head coach now, and you always want to be happy for people who aspire to be something and then they later achieve it.”
There have been several instances in Tagovailoa’s recruitment over the past month where it looked like he would entertain other schools, such as LSU and Oregon. The Tigers offered Tagovailoa shortly after Ed Orgeron became the permanent coach and new Ducks coach Willie Taggart flew to Hawaii last week with the hopes of getting Alabama’s quarterback commit.
Taggart spent over an hour with Tagovailoa with the hopes of getting him on board, but it didn’t work.
“He just wanted me to know that he really wanted me,” Tagovailoa said. “He respected my commitment 100 percent. He was mainly there for (3-star defensive end and cousin of Tua’s) Myron (Tagovailoa).
Nothing is going to change his mind on Alabama. He’s set with his commitment, even after the news of Kiffin leaving the program.
“It’s always sad to see a coach leave,” Tagovailoa said. “At the same time, you wish him the best and you’re correct. It doesn’t do anything with my commitment.”
The Army All-American’s father, Galu, said the family has established a strong relationship with Nick Saban and outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi since his commitment in May. He is closest with those two coaches.
While he did have a relationship with Kiffin, it wasn’t as strong as the ones he has with the aforementioned coaches at Alabama.
“Lane Kiffin is an awesome and smart guy,” Galu Tagovailoa said two weeks ago. “We have much respect for that guy. But at the same time, we have built strong relationships with (outside linebackers coach) Tosh Lupoi and Nick Saban. Those are the two guys we’ve built a huge relationship with — not so much Lane. If Lane decides to move on with his career somewhere else, we wish him the best. We support him with whatever he’s going to do.”
Tagovailoa will participate in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in early January, then head straight to Tuscaloosa to begin his career for the Crimson Tide.
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