Alabama Hero Tua Tagovailoa Says He Would’ve Transferred If He Didn’t Play In Championship Game

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Turns out Lake Kiffin was right. Tua Tagovailoa really was going to transfer out of Alabama if he didn’t get to play in the title game.

Back in January, Kiffin, who was Alabama’s offensive coordinator from 2014 to 2016, said Tua Tagovailoa had been feeling frustrated that Nick Saban wasn’t giving him more opportunities to play, and that he would have left Tuscaloosa if he hadn’t gotten a chance to play in the College Football Playoff championship game.

At the time Kiffin had been on a bit of a trash talk bender, criticizing his former boss for pretty much everything. So it was hard to take his claims about Tagovailoa seriously. But it turns out that Kiffin was right. This week Tua himself said that he would have left Alabama if things hadn’t turned out the way they did.

For those who may have forgotten, Tua Tagovailoa took over for starting QB Jalen Hurts with the Crimson Tide down 13-0 midway through the CFP championship game. Tagovailoa then went 14-for-24 with 166 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Crimson Tide to a thrilling 26-23 overtime victory over Georgia.

While giving a talk to a group of kids at his old middle school this week, Tagovailoa said he was unhappy early on during his freshman year at Alabama and wanted to give up almost immediately.

“I called my dad and asked him if my offer to the University of Southern California was still available,” Tagovailoa said via Hawaii News Now. “I wanted to leave. I told my dad I wanted to go to a school where I thought it’d be easier for me and wouldn’t challenge me so much.”

Tagovailoa said his dad convinced him to stick it out in Tuscaloosa. But he was still unhappy heading into the championship game.

“Throughout my football season, I wasn’t the starter,” Tagovailoa said. “I wanted to leave the school. So I told myself if I didn’t play in the last game, which was the national championship game, I would transfer out.”

The lesson Tagovailoa says he learned from all this? Don’t take the easy way out.

“If I gave in, I don’t think I would have seen the end blessing of where I am now.”

Of course, while things worked out pretty well for Tua, sometimes one man’s gain is another man’s loss. Just ask Jalen Hurts.

Hat Tip – [SB Nation]

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