Tua Tagovailoa says he would’ve left Bama if he didn’t play in title game

The rising sophomore came in for starter Jalen Hurts in the second half against Georgia.

Well this is certainly interesting. On Thursday, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa revealed that he would’ve transferred away from Tuscaloosa had he not played in the second half of the national title game against Georgia. Tagovailoa, who led the Tide to a 26-23 victory over Georgia after he came in for starter Jalen Hurts, recently told the story while giving a talk to some kids from his old middle school this week:

“I called my dad and asked him if my offer to the University of Southern California was still available,” Tagovailoa said via Hawaii News Now. “I wanted to leave. I told my dad I wanted to go to a school where I thought it’d be easier for me and wouldn’t challenge me so much.”

Tua was a former five-star recruit from Honolulu, and the No. 1 dual threat quarterback in the 2017 class per the 247Sports Composite. He went on to say that the Tide’s final game was essentially the last straw for him:

“Even throughout my football season, I wasn’t the starter,” Tagovailoa continued. “I wanted to leave the school. So I told myself if I didn’t play in the last game, which was the national championship game, I would transfer out. If I gave in, I don’t think I would have seen the end blessing of where I am now.”

The revelation is pretty interesting, especially considering that Tua was still a true freshman last season. There’s some irony too — there’s been speculation that Hurts, whose spot Tua took in the second half, has been considering a transfer given how the title game played out. But since the title game, Hurts and Tua have maintained how strong their relationship is.

“Well, I don’t know that you can balance,” Bama head coach Nick Saban said following the title game. “I think you do show your appreciation for it. I mean, one of the first things that I said to Jalen was we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. You put us in a position by the plays that you made and the way you played all year long, but it just seems to me like, if we’re going to have the best chance to win this game, that we may need to do it in a different way.”

One thing’s for sure — Alabama fans are lucky he didn’t transfer after what he was able to do against Georgia, including the game-winning TD in overtime.

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