Written by: Shawn Digity (@DIGITYnodoubt)
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I’ve been on the McKenzie Milton bandwagon for a while now, but with all the other quarterbacks worth talking about, I’d be remiss if I didn’t start talking about another big-ticket play-caller: Tua Tagovailoa. The Alabama quarterback has taken college football by storm, and it started in the championship game last year when he took over for Jalen Hurts and led the Crimson Tide to a(nother) championship.
During the spring and summer, an exacerbated quarterback controversy swirled around the team about whether Tagovailoa or Hurts was going to be the starter for 2018. The whole mystery spread like wildfire even into the start of the season when it seemed evident that Tagovailoa was the guy leading the charge. I’m not sure why it was never just simply stated that Tagovailoa would be the starter; it even went as far as coach Nick Sagan going on a bit of a pseudo-tantrum on live TV while being interviewed by ESPN’s Maria Taylor. I won’t do a deep dive into that rant, but the answer to Taylor’s question of “who was the starting quarterback?” was ultimately a simple one. It had been Tua Tagovailoa the whole time. I’m not sure why it required jumping through hoops to get that answer from the head coach when it was crystal clear that, for all intents and purposes, Tagovailoa was the better quarterback.
Anyway, I’m getting off track; I want to talk about how sensational Tagovailoa really is and how it will lead up to him being the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. His play on the field has been tremendous and nothing short of first-overall-pick worthy. The southpaw has shown impressive arm strength and accuracy on his intermediate and deep throws, many of which have gone to wide receiver Jerry Jeudy or tight end Irv Smith, both of whom are also seeing their draft stock skyrocket. Tagovailoa has shown incredible ball velocity and good pocket presence. One thing I haven’t noticed is whether or not he is going through his progressions. I’ve seen him lock on to Jeudy in many cases, but he as the arm, offensive line protection and oft-times superior receiver corps to get away with telegraphing the passes. That’s just a minor knock at this point though.
He’s also leading the Heisman Watch Experts Poll this week again and it’s getting to the point where it’s becoming difficult for anyone to catch him, save for Kyler Murray. He led the most recent Experts’ Poll (October 23rd ) with 50 total points. He received all the first-place votes out of a panel of 10 voters and I don’t see that changing. Tagovailoa continues to gain steam in the draft community, even though he’s at least another year removed from being in the Draft. I saw the #TankForTua movement on Twitter come to life a few days ago and it’s hard to imagine him not being the first pick in the 2020 Draft if he continues to light up he scoreboard like he’s done this year.