Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was the hero of Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship win over Georgia.
But had he stayed on the bench, his career with the Tide may have ended shortly after, at least according to former Alabama offensive coordinator and FAU head coach Lane Kiffin.
Kiffin, who recruited Tagovailoa during his final season with the Tide, told the Dan Patrick Show that the quarterback would have opted to transfer had head coach Nick Saban stuck with starter Jalen Hurts.
“No doubt,” Kiffin said. “He’s played some, so he’s going to have sit, so he’s going to sit and he’s going to be a four for three. So he’ll sit for a year and have three years to play. He wasn’t going to sit there for another year behind Jalen when he feels like he didn’t to get an opportunity to beat him out.”
Tagovailoa entered the game during Alabama’s first possession of the second half and threw for three touchdowns, including a 41-yard game-winner to DeVonta Smith in overtime.
Hurts started every game for the Tide after taking over during the first game of his true freshman season in 2016. However, many believed Tagovailoa, a former 5-star prospect, was the better option after excelling during limited opportunities during his first season in Tuscaloosa, amid the starter’s struggles.
“There were a lot of thoughts throughout the year that Tua was the best quarterback,” Kiffin said.
Hurts was benched during Monday’s game after throwing for 21 yards on 3-of-8 passing, while the Tide was kept scoreless through the first two quarters.
Clearly, the substitution changed the course of the game and Alabama’s quarterback situation moving forward as Tagovailoa will undoubtedly take over as the team’s full-time starter, rather than wait another season behind Hurts, who is now expected to transfer.