Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is ready for the NFL.
Tagovailoa, who is recovering from hip surgery, is expected to be a top-5 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He said he went through a thorough analysis of the alternatives in announcing he’d enter the draft.
He had 87 touchdowns and 11 interceptions at Alabama and several teams with picks in the top 10 potentially need quarterbacks. The Miami Dolphins pick fifth, the Los Angeles Chargers are sixth and the Carolina Panthers sit at No. 7.
“It was just a hard decision all around,” Tagovailoa said. “This is a decision I’m going to have to live with. I made it. I’m good with it. … It’s a unique situation to be in for sure. With my hip … a lot of the general managers I’ve gotten to talk to, they look at this injury like a knee injury even though it’s not. Really the biggest thing they want to do is just see is if we can move and be back to where we were playing before the injury.”
Thank you @Tuaamann! 🐘
Tua Tagovailoa has declared for the NFL Draft and will forego his senior season at Alabama. pic.twitter.com/K1miL0BK8u
— Alabama Crimson Tide | AL.com (@aldotcomTide) January 6, 2020
Tagovailoa was in New York over the weekend to be re-evaluated and said his surgeons told him the three- or four-month work would be the telltale marker in his rehab. He underwent three surgeries — ankle tightrope procedures and a hip operation — since Dec. 2018.
“I’m focusing on my rehab now, with all the teams and deciding if I’m going to do anything physically (before the draft), we’ll get with the training staff before deciding any of that.”
“I plan to stay close to the university and stay close to the Alabama family,” Tagovailoa said in a prepared statement.
Roll tide 4 Life 🖤 pic.twitter.com/OFaW7303ZY
— Tua. T 🇦🇸 (@Tuaamann) January 6, 2020
Tagovailoa is highly unlikely to be cleared for workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine next month. Alabama does not have an official date set for its pro day.
Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban introduced Tagovailoa at a Monday morning press conference and thanked him for his extensive impact on the program.
“I want everybody to know how proud we are to be up here with Tua here today,” Saban said. “Tua has probably had as much impact on our program here at Alabama as anyone we’ve ever had. And I’m not just talking about as a football player. … You probably don’t fully understand the significance of the contributions he’s made off the field with his teammates. He has an incredibly positive spirit.
Saban said Alabama supported Tagovailoa in every way possible, including medical advice and professional advice.
“I know this has been a very difficult decision for him and his family,” Saban said.
Saban said Tagovailoa is 17 credits short of graduation.
–Field Level Media