HONOLULU — Tua Tagovailoa, the 5-star quarterback from St. Louis High School in Hawaii, will suit up for Alabama in 2017. His recruitment is finished.
Tagovailoa’s plans when he committed to Alabama back in May were to take all five official visits before early enrolling in college in January, but that will not happen. The only official visit he’ll take is to Tuscaloosa on Dec. 8. Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin and outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi will travel to Honolulu that day for an in-home visit, and then shortly after that, Tagovailoa and his family will fly separately back to Alabama.
The decision to not visit any other schools stems from Tagovailoa’s decision to leave his family and friends more than 4,000 miles away from home.
“We’re going to stay there for a couple of days, maybe even a week,” Tagovailoa told SEC Country. “From there, (my family) wanted to go on trips elsewhere. I didn’t want to do that because I want to enjoy the time I have here with my family and friends. After we go to Alabama, we’re going to come back here and spend as much time together as possible before they don’t see me for a while because of football.”
There was always some doubt from several fans I talked to about Tagovailoa sticking with the Crimson Tide, but he’s set on Alabama, and his family is, too. His father, Galu, told SEC Country that his son is locked in with his commitment, and there’s nothing that’s going to change his mind on going there.
Southern California was the favorite for several years for Tagovailoa, but the weeklong trip to Tuscaloosa shortly before making his commitment solidified in his mind that Alabama was the better place for him.
“When you go to Alabama, everything is just different,” Tagovailoa said. “Everything is about the process of getting to your goals. You want to play with the best and surround yourself with the best. And for me, I feel like those guys are the best.”
With him being in Hawaii, he still pays close attention to the team. He said he watches every single game he can. He’s been impressed with the offense that Alabama is running with dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts under center.
Nick Saban has told the Tagovailoas that just because Hurts is a true freshman, it doesn’t mean the starting quarterback job is his until he leaves school. Saban told the family that even if Alabama wins a championship this year with Hurts, and if Tagovailoa comes in and is better, he’ll play.
But for Tagovailoa, he’s not worried about the what ifs come next year. He’s focused on delivering his school a state championship this Saturday. He’s just glad he doesn’t have to worry about recruiting anymore.
“It feels good being over with it because it takes a huge load off of your shoulders,” Tagovailoa said. “I can now focus on things that are more important instead of just thinking about my recruitment.”
The nation’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback isn’t much of a recruiter behind the scenes. He was aware that Alabama landed 4-star offensive tackle Jedrick Wills on Tuesday, but he didn’t know much about him.
He does keep up with several other commitments in the Class of 2017 such as fellow 5-star prospects Najee Harris and Alex Leatherwood. The Alabama recruiting class currently is No. 1 in the country. Tagovailoa is amazed with the amount of talent the Tide have.
“I don’t even know what to say,” Tagovailoa said with a laugh. “All I have to say is that we’re not done yet. We’re not done yet. The amount of talent and amount of hard workers we have in this class, it’s kind of silly to think about.”
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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