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Taulia Tagovailoa named Maryland football’s starting quarterback

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The sophomore transfer will lead the Terps under center for the 2020 season.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics; taken by Maddie Kyler

Sophomore Taulia Tagovailoa, who transferred from Alabama back in May, will lead Maryland football under center, a team spokesperson told Testudo Times just under an hour before the Terps’ first game of the 2020 season against Northwestern.

Locksley decided between Tagovailoa and redshirt-freshman Lance LeGendre for the job, neither of whom have a long resume of collegiate action.

As a freshman for the Crimson Tide in 2019, Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Miami Dolphins quarterback, Tua, saw limited action but completed 9-of-12 passes for 100 yards and one touchdown across five games.

The Ewa Beach, Hawaii, native decided to come to College Park largely in part to his relationship with Locksley, who was Alabama’s offensive coordinator when Tua led the team to a national championship in 2018.

Though the 5’11 quarterback hasn’t gotten his collegiate shot yet, he’s no stranger to the big stage. A four-year starter in high school, Tagovailoa’s career spanned from Hawaii to Alabama where he played two years in each state.

At his time playing at Thompson High School in Alabama, which plays one of the toughest conferences in the country, Tagovailoa led his team to win the State Class 7A Region 3 Championship his junior year. He then took the group to the state championships as a senior, earning First Team All-State honors for the second consecutive season.

Through four years as a starter, he put up some mind-boggling stats. Tagovailoa ended his high school days with 14,207 yards in the air for 135 touchdowns, with 11 more scores on the ground. For context, Tua threw for 8,158 yards and 84 touchdowns in a much less competitive conference in Hawaii.

The No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the country was also named a finalist for the Elite 11, the premier quarterback competition in the country in 2018.

Tagovailoa showcased his arm strength during the competition, slinging the ball 66 yards to win the “Long Ball Challenge,” defeating Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma), Bo Nix (Auburn), Jayden Daniels (Arizona State) and Ryan Hilinski (South Carolina).

The 5’11 quarterback was named immediately eligible to play for the Terrapins on Aug. 7, joining a team that had the signal caller position for the taking after 2019 starter Josh Jackson opted-out of the season the same day.

In Maryland’s new-look offense, he’ll lead a dangerous wide receiver core in what could be a high volume attack. The quarterback will connect with redshirt sophomore Jeshaun Jones, 2019 starter Dontay Demus Jr., five-star freshman Rakim Jarrett and Brian Cobbs, among others, in the passing game this fall.