Maryland football has received a major boost at quarterback, as former Alabama signal caller Taulia Tagovailoa announced his transfer to the Terps May 15.
Tagovailoa, the younger brother of former Crimson Tide star and current Miami Dolphins first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa, entered the transfer portal last week. His commitment to Maryland reunites him with Terps head coach Michael Locksley, who didn’t coach Taulia at Alabama but was Tua’s offensive coordinator in 2018 and played a major role in Taulia’s recruitment.
As a freshman in 2019, Taulia Tagovailoa appeared in five games, completing 9 of 12 passes for 100 yards. He was previously a four-star recruit rated as the No. 5 pro-style quarterback (and No. 180 overall player) in the country, per the 247Sports Composite. It wouldn’t be fair to compare the right-handed Taulia to his left-handed brother Tua, but the younger Tagovailoa still carries plenty of promise.
“Taulia has outstanding field vision and excellent pocket awareness,” Locksley said in a program press release. “He’s a twitchy passer that has the ability to make and extend plays in and outside of the pocket because of his above-average athleticism. Taulia has terrific touch and trajectory on his throws and delivers the ball with above-average accuracy. He’s a highly competitive player that will bring great competition to a good quarterback room.”
The Tagovailoa family moved from Hawaii to Alabama when Tua, the oldest of three brothers, enrolled in college in 2017. They are expected to move to Miami with Tua now on the Dolphins. Miami and FIU were both rumored destinations for Taulia, but the family connection with Locksley was enough to make the difference.
The path to a starting job is also much more clear at Maryland than it was at Alabama. Assuming the 2020 season happens, the Crimson Tide bring back Mac Jones, who started late last season after Tua Tagovailoa suffered a hip injury. Alabama also signed five-star prospect Bryce Young, the top quarterback and No. 2 overall prospect in the 2020 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Maryland, meanwhile, has just two scholarship quarterbacks on its 2020 roster — redshirt senior Josh Jackson and redshirt freshman Lance LeGendre.
Unless the NCAA grants a blanket waiver to all offseason transfers for this coming season, Taulia is expected to sit out the 2020 season and have three years of eligibility at Maryland. He won’t be guaranteed a starting job over LeGendre, and the Terps are still in the mix for five-star 2021 prospect Caleb Williams, but Tagovailoa’s transfer was a natural move for both sides.
“I’m so excited to start the next chapter of my career at the University of Maryland,” Tagovailoa said in Maryland’s release. “I’m incredibly grateful to all of the amazing people at Alabama, but am also thrilled to join the Terrapin Football Family. I have a great relationship with Coach Locksley and am excited to see what he’s building. I can’t wait to be part of it and I plan on working incredibly hard both on and off the field to make my family, teammates, coaches and fans proud.”
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maryland Athletics