Bama QB Tagovailoa announces he’s turning pro

Field Level Media

January 06, 2020 at 6:14 pm.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will enter the 2020 NFL Draft, giving up his senior season, he announced Monday.

“I’ve had a difficult time making this decision about my future,” Tagovailoa said during a campus news conference. “… My love for the University of Alabama, our coaches, our fans and my teammates has made this especially hard for me.

“With lots of prayers, thoughts and guidance, I have decided I will be declaring and entering the 2020 NFL draft.”

Tagovailoa sustained a season-ending right hip injury on Nov. 16 and surgery followed. His health status caused his projections to drop from near the top of the draft to outside the top 10.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said recently that Tagovailoa was given a grade within the top 15 picks of the draft.

Tagovailoa leaves the storied Alabama program as No. 1 in school history in completion percentage (69.3 percent), touchdown passes in a season (43 in 2018), passing touchdowns (87) and touchdowns responsible for (96).

Coach Nick Saban said Tagovailoa has meant more to the program than just numbers.

“Tua has probably had as much of an impact on our program as any player that we’ve ever had, and I’m not just talking about as a football player,” Saban said just before Tagovailoa’s announcement. “He’s got great character, he’s a great leader, he’s done a wonderful job in the classroom. There’s a spirit about him that has impacted myself and everybody around him in a very, very positive way.”

Before being sidelined in 2019, Tagovailoa passed for 2,840 yards and 33 touchdowns. He was intercepted three times.

In the 2017 season, he came off the bench in the national championship game to lead Alabama to an overtime win against Georgia. Last season, Tagovailoa guided the Crimson Tide back to the national final, throwing for 3,966 yards with 43 touchdown passes and six interceptions.

Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, safety Xavier McKinney, right tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. and outside linebacker Terrell Lewis previously announced they are entering the draft.

Wide receiver DeVonta Smith announced Monday he is returning for his senior season. Left tackle Alex Leatherwood and inside linebacker Dylan Moses previously said they will return to Tuscaloosa.