Jake Fromm was expected to be Alabama’s quarterback of the future, but that changed on March 3.
Fromm, a four-star prospect from Houston County High School (Warner Robins, Ga.), de-committed on that day and decided to flip to Georgia.
Not quite two months later, Alabama will find out Monday night if it has a quarterback of the future again, and it could be someone who didn’t even have an official offer from the Crimson Tide the day Fromm flipped.
Right after losing Fromm to Georgia, Alabama started to recruit quarterbacks once again, offering scholarships to Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Bentley, Bailey Hockman and Davis Mills.
Since then, Bentley committed to South Carolina, Hockman chose Florida State, and Mills who had committed to Stanford a day before the Tide offered him, has remained strong on his pledge to the Cardinal.
That left Tagovailoa, the nation’s No. 2 dual-threat quarterback from Honolulu. Alabama had a lot of catching up to do in order to have any chance of landing the four-star prospect from Saint Louis School.
Throughout most of his recruitment, Southern California led for his services. It is a college that Tagovailoa has classified as a “dream school.” But since March 8, the day Alabama offered him, the Trojans’ lead started to crumble.
SEC Country first caught up with Tagovailoa shortly after he announced his top eight schools on March 16. Alabama did make the cut, but at that time, not many people knew just how serious his interest in the school was.
The first true sign of his interest level in Alabama came when Tagovailoa talked about how much his faith meant to him and how he and his family connected with Nick Saban on a spiritual level.
“Coach Saban has talked to us and his beliefs are God first before anything,” Tagovailoa told SEC Country shortly after releasing his top schools. “Every school is going to have good academics. Every school is going to have good football. But when you have a coach like Saban, who believes in God and is a defending champion, that makes it even more special.”
Tagovailoa, who threw for 2,916 yards and scored 35 total touchdowns his junior season, immediately focused on Alabama after receiving his scholarship offer. Being from Hawaii, there aren’t many players that have the opportunity to play in the SEC, especially not at Alabama.
When the Crimson Tide offered him the opportunity to play quarterback for them, the wheels started turning on possibly moving 4,000 miles away from home.
“I didn’t even know I was in Alabama’s range to get offered. It says a lot for them to go this far for someone like me,” Tagovailoa said. “I really do take this into consideration because it’s something that is very meaningful because Nick Saban has taken almost everyone that he has recruited to a national championship. That says a lot about his program.”
Fast forward a few weeks after releasing his top schools. Tua, his mother, Diane and his father, Galu, planned a trip to the Southeast to visit Alabama, Ole Miss and Auburn. The Tagovailoas spent almost a full week in Tuscaloosa and fell in love with the school and the city.
So much so, that Tua’s father told SEC Country on April 11 that if a decision was made on that day, his son would be choosing Alabama.
“If it was made today, just with what has happened this week, it would be Alabama,” Galu said. “Again, because of the relationship we built with them. Our relationship with Alabama has kept growing. This is just my opinion but it would be Alabama.”
It’s common for recruits and family members to say something that extreme to reporters especially after having a great visit. But, the interest level from the Tagovailoas was so high that the family had discussed moving to the Southeast if he did in fact choose Alabama.
“We have talked about a lot of those things, even if he was staying on the West Coast,” Galu Tagovailoa said. “I have kind of looked at some jobs on the West Coast in my field. We also needed to consider that we needed to look at jobs in Mobile or in that area. That was one of the biggest reasons why we took this trip as a family. When it comes down to making a decision like this, it’s a family decision.”
On April 23, Tua set his commitment date for May 2. This came as a bit of a shock because originally, the plan was to make his decision at some point in July. He was going to take more time to visit other schools. As it turns out, no college visits have happened after the Alabama extended stay. Moving up his commitment to May suggested good news for Alabama was on the way.
In less than two months from picking up a scholarship offer to now, Alabama went from not a serious contender for the Hawaiian star to being the favorite. According to Tagovailoa’s 247Sports Crystal Ball, 83 percent of recruiting analysts that have offered a prediction believe he’ll choose Alabama tonight around 11 p.m. ET when he announces his decision live on a Hawaiian TV news station. In addition to Alabama, Southern Cal, Ole Miss, UCLA, Texas A&M and Hawaii are battling it out for his services.
So what would Alabama be getting if Tagovailoa chooses the school?
The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder’s left arm could be mistaken for a cannon if you watch his film. It’s clear that arm strength is not an issue for Tagovailoa. Though he is a dual-threat quarterback, don’t confuse with him just being an athlete that’s also able to throw the ball. He’s a quarterback first, but also has the ability to make plays with his legs.
In addition to his skillset, the Tagovailoa commitment is huge for recruiting. Alabama doesn’t have any receiver commitments in the Class of 2017 yet, and that’s a big position of need. Seeing Alabama land one of the top quarterbacks in the country could help the Tide’s position with some of the top receivers.
Tagovailoa is also one of the most personable recruits. If he ends up in this class, expect him to become one of the team’s biggest and best recruiters along with four-star offensive tackle commit Alex Leatherwood.
Overall, Tagovailoa will be welcomed with open arms if he ends up in Alabama’s recruiting class. It would be a major win for the Crimson Tide if they can go from not being in the race two months ago to landing a commitment from one of the nation’s best quarterbacks.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.