HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - If and when Tua Tagovailoa officially gets his hands on the Heisman Trophy on Saturday afternoon, he knows the honor won’t be just his.
The award, he acknowledges, also belongs to his family and his teammates. But the Saint Louis alum and Alabama quarterback is acutely aware that he’s also part of something bigger.
“Now that we’re here, I do think it’s a legacy thing,” Tagovailoa said Friday, speaking at the New York Stock Exchange as part of the Heisman Trophy press tour. “And if we do win it, awesome. I get to be the one to carry that torch.”
The torch was lit long ago, by all the great players from Hawaii. But Tua was especially inspired by mentor Marcus Mariota, Hawaii’s first Heisman winner, and is proud of the success of quarterbacks like UCF’s McKenzie Milton, and Jordan Taamu, from Ole Miss. “I definitely think there’s something in the water with our skill players,” says Tagovailoa. “In Hawaii, we’re normally seen as big, stout guys. Now people can see we have skill players as well.”
Still, he knows that no matter what happens at he Playstation Theater in Times Square on Saturday, he has more football to play this season. When we watch Alabama take on Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff, Tagovailoa wants us to realize one thing: head coach Nick Saban does, indeed, have a personality.
“Does he joke around with you?”
“Oh, yeah he does,” sayd Tagovailoa. “Sometimes he doesn’t mean to joke around. He’s being serious and we end up laughing and he gets even more mad.”
Being the star player for the number one team in the country, Tua knows the children back home are watching and dreaming, just like he did. His advice, above anything: respect your family. “Your parents are your first teachers. I am where I am because of them. I am who I am because of them.”