HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Much like his mentor and former Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, Tua Tagovailoa is as humble as it gets.
The Alabama quarterback and former Saint Louis star has been thrust into the spotlight as a Heisman finalist this season because of his stellar play on the field. But off the gridiron, it’s Tagovailoa’s support system that he credits for his success.
“I think a lot has to do with my family,how I’ve been raised, my faith,” he said. “And then when you’re surrounded by guys who just love to grind … I think it’s a courtesy to who I’m surrounded with in terms of my teammates and my friends.”
Tagovailoa’s support system crosses state lines - and oceans.
From his home in Ewa Beach to his alma mater in Honolulu all the way to the South in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, there is no shortage of Tagovailoa supporters.
“It’s awesome. It’s amazing,” Tagovailoa said regarding the level of excitement from Oahu. “Back home, everything is family oriented.”
And in the Tagovailoa household, football was a constant element of his childhood.
“I’ve been watching the Heisman since I’ve been watching football,” Tagovailoa said. “I got to see a good amount of winners, including Marcus Mariota, too.”
Much has been said of Tagovailoa carrying the torch that Mariota passed on to his Saint Louis understudy and the next generation of Hawaii football players. For Tagovailoa, he’s just pleased to see the islands become a hotbed of talent for every position on the field - not just linemen.
“I definitely think there’s something in the water within our skill players,” he said. “For Hawaii kids, we’re usually known to be big, stouted people … and now a lot of people get the opportunity to see that we’re more than people who are big and whatnot. We have skill players as well. And I think it’s testament to that.”