After NCAA denied him another year, Taulia Tagovailoa hopes NFL teams think he’s ready


Taulia Tagovailoa knows he’s not viewed as the elite quarterback prospect that his older brother was, and that’s why he asked the NCAA to grant him permission to play another year of college football. But when the NCAA denied him eligibility for 2024, Tagovailoa entered the draft, and he’s hoping NFL teams will think he’s worth taking a chance on.

Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, wanted the NCAA to rule that his 2019 season, in which he played sparingly in five games at Alabama, counted as a redshirt year. He transferred to Maryland to continue his college career, and the coaches at both Alabama and Maryland wrote to the NCAA endorsing the idea that Tagovailoa’s minimal playing time in 2019 shouldn’t have counted as a full year of eligibility. But the NCAA disagreed, told him his college career was over, and so Tagovailoa is now focused on the NFL.

“Going into college you always have goals, and I just wanted more,” he told ESPN. “I felt like I left a lot of plays out on the field, and with another year, I felt it was going to be another opportunity to show what I can do and maybe improve on the things I didn’t do well the past couple of years. That’s all I was trying to do with getting another year.”

Now Tagovailoa hopes an NFL team will take a chance on him in the draft.

“When the NCAA didn’t accept it, I felt like it was God’s plan for me to — I mean, I only had one decision,” Taulia said, “to go to the NFL draft.”

Tagovailoa’s situation is similar to the situation that Tommy DeVito was in last year: DeVito started his college career at Syracuse, then transferred to Illinois, and asked the NCAA for another season of eligibility a year ago. When the NCAA said no, he entered the NFL draft and wasn’t selected, but he signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent and started six games last season as a rookie. Even if Tagovailoa isn’t drafted, he may find himself playing in the NFL this year.



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