Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa entered the 2019 season considered one of the top picks for the 2020 NFL draft. And despite suffering a hip dislocation in the Crimson Tide's Nov. 16 win over Mississippi State and having surgery two weeks later, Tagovailoa is forgoing his senior season and entering the draft.
The QB announced his decision at a press conference on Monday with head coach Nick Saban.
"I've had a difficult time making this decision about my future," Tagovailoa said. "I will be declaring and entering the 2020 NFL draft."
At the time of his surgery, Tagovailoa's procedure was said to have been a success. ESPN's Laura Rutledge reported in November that he would be put on partial weight bearing recovering plan for six weeks as he rehabs daily in Tuscaloosa. Three months after the procedure, he is slated to begin athletic activity again and by the spring, he is expected to be able to resume throwing.
In early December, Tagovailoa said he was still undecided about entering this year's draft and was still trying to understand what the full implications of his decision might be.
"The risk if I stay is obviously 'Do I get hurt again?' The reward is that I could come back and have another good year like my sophomore year and elevate myself back to the very top of the (NFL) draft," Tagovailoa told the Tuscaloosa News. "If I leave, I think the risk is a little higher. That risk would be how far do I drop in the draft. To me, it's 50-50 between going in the first round and possibly going in the second round."
But he now has his mind made up.
This season, Tagovailoa tallied 2,840 yards with 33 touchdowns and three interceptions. compared to the 3,966-yard, 43-touchdown season he had in 2018.
At the time of his injury, The MMQB's Kayln Kahler reported that the Alabama QB was still expected to be in the discussion for top quarterback in the draft class, but that his medical records would be instrumental in where he gets selected.
"Yes, the injury will be a major factor," one evaluator told Kahler. "It will all be based on the team doctor's recommendation to the GM. Period."
"If he's on pace to be back for the start of next season, I think he'll be fine," another scout said. "And all it takes is one team to take a chance on him..."
The 6' 1" Tagovailoa isn't small by NFL QB standards, but he doesn't have significant size like Oregon’s 6' 6" quarterback Justin Herbert.
Time and time again in college however, the Hawaii native proved to be an accurate and athletic passer with good arm strength and consistent decision-making.
Alabama opens its 2020 season against USC in Arlington, Texas. The Tide return QB Mac Jones, who shined against Michigan in the Sugar Bowl, and bring in SI's first-team All-American QB Bryce Young. Alabama also has Tua's younger brother, quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, on its roster.