Former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is the best passer to ever don the crimson and white, and that's not even a question. He left his name all over the program record books, tallying more than 7,400 passing yards, 87 touchdown passes and just 11 interceptions over three seasons.
It's almost amazing he didn't win a Heisman Trophy during his NCAA career considering all that he achieved. He finished runner-up to Oklahoma's Kyler Murray in 2018, a year after he led the Crimson Tide to a College Football Playoff National Championship Game win against Georgia and taking over for Jalen Hurts.
Tagovailoa was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft despite suffering a hip injury in the Mississippi State game in November 2019 that ended his college football career.
While we all already know Tagovailoa the football player, who is Tua the person? It's a question NFL fans are asking, and they're likely finding out that he's a very family-oriented person. His parents have been instrumental in his success thus far.
Tua and Taulia Tagovailoa's Parents
Tua Tagovailoa is from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, where he was a standout quarterback at Saint Louis School. He has Samoan roots and a massive family tree that reportedly included more than 400 family members, though he's said that's an exaggeration.
Tua is one of Galu and Diane Tagovailoa's four children. Tua's younger brother, Taulia, played college football for the Alabama Crimson Tide as well before transferring to the University of Maryland after 2019. He also has two sisters.
His parents picked up everything and moved across the country to Tuscaloosa to watch their sons live out their football dreams in the SEC. When Tua enrolled at the University of Alabama, Taulia played football at nearby Thompson High School.
"For us to be around my son Tua ... that's the main reason for the move," Galu told AL.com. "We are a family and want to keep it as a family. That's what the move is about."
The Tagovailoa's are Their Sons' Biggest Fans
Diane and Galu Tagovailoa were regulars in the stands at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
While they're lucky enough to have two children play college football, they seem as humble as humanly possible. After Tagovailoa won the starting quarterback battle against Jalen Hurts and ran out onto the field in the 'Tide's 2018 season opening football game against Louisville, the couple shared a proud moment.
He put on a show for his parents in his first ever start, too. Tagovailoa threw for 277 yards and totaled three touchdowns in the convincing 51-14 win.
Like that, the Tua era was officially underway.
Even during the rough times, Tagovailoa has leaned on his support system at home. That was apparent when the Tagovailoa family made a statement to fans following his season-ending hip injury and successful surgery in Houston. He made a full recovery and was reportedly named the Dolphins starting quarterback on October 20, 2020, in an NFL season hampered by the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 outbreak.
"We would like to thank all of the Alabama family and everyone across the world for the prayers and outpouring of love and support for our son and our family," the Tagovailoas said. "We felt the unceasing prayer, and words can't express how overwhelming and uplifting that has been for us. We have total faith in God's plan for Tua, and we know his plan is never wrong. God's grace, mercy, love and faithfulness in our lives has never been more evident, despite this setback."
Tua replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick and made his NFL debut for the Dolphins against the New York Jets and completed his first career pass.
The rest is history.
Tua's Dad Used Tough Love on Him
Galu Tagovailoa garnered some strong criticism back in 2018 when his son revealed some of his parenting tactics growing up.
Tua said in an ESPN College GameDay segment that his father used to punish him with a belt after bad performances on the gridiron. That wasn't limited to sports, either. He was punished for bad grades as well.
"If I don't perform well, perform the way I'm supposed to, I'm gonna get it after," Tua said, "Just know the belt was involved and other things were involved, as well."
"I was tough. He can go 15-for-15 with four touchdowns, but when he throws a pick, it's the worst game," Galu said with a smile. "It's the worst game."
Tua also said that his dad was the final decision maker during his recruitment process. When Alabama head coach Nick Saban called, Tua's father was set on Tuscaloosa and so Tua respected Galu's opinion enough to listen to him.
Tua's Dad Forced Him To Throw Lefty
You might not be able to tell by the way he slings the pigskin, but Tua Tagovailoa was actually born a natural right-hander.
The former Crimson Tide running back admits he's right-hand dominant for everything else besides chucking footballs. Why? Because his father made him throw with his left hand when he was young.
"Because I'm the only lefty in the family," Galu Tagovailoa said in the ESPN College GameDay segment. "I felt like 'okay, I'm going to make my son a lefty."
Agree or disagree with his parents' tactics, Tua Tagovailoa went on to become a successful college quarterback, NFL top pick and a stand-up person. I think we can all appreciate that.
This article was originally published on October 20, 2020, and has been updated since.
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