Tagovailoa is the younger brother of former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who was selected fifth overall in this year’s NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins. Tua was coached at Alabama by current Maryland coach Mike Locksley, and while Taulia did not play for the former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator, there is familiarity with the family.
“Taulia has outstanding field vision and excellent pocket awareness,” Locksley said in a statement. “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 younger Tagovailoa was ESPN’s No. 143-rated prospect in the 2019 class and the fifth-ranked dual-threat quarterback. He was in the same class for Alabama as ESPN 300 quarterback Paul Tyson, the great-grandson of former Alabama coach Bear Bryant. Tagovailoa played in five games last season for the Crimson Tide, completing 9 of 12 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Tagovailoa shared his thoughts about the transfer choice on Twitter.
— Taulia Tagovailoa (@tauliaa12) May 15, 2020
Because he competed in five games, he did not preserve his redshirt and has three years of eligibility remaining. Tagovailoa would need to seek a waiver in order to play in 2020.
His decision to pick Maryland comes at a good time for the Terps, as quarterbacks Max Bortenschlager and Tyrrell Pigrome entered the transfer portal in January and February, respectively. That left Maryland with second-year quarterback Lance LeGendre, who was part of the 2019 class, as well as Josh Jackson, who transferred in from Virginia Tech.
Jackson played in 10 games last season for Maryland, and he will have one season of eligibility remaining. The staff did not land a quarterback in the 2020 class, and it has yet to gain a commitment from a quarterback in the 2021 cycle, so adding Tagovailoa will help shore up depth and competition at the position for the future.
Last season, Maryland quarterbacks combined to have a 32.9 Total QBR, second worst among Power 5 teams, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Only Northwestern was worse.