Tagovailoa living in the moment under national spotlight

Tagovailoa addresses media in New York City

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - To describe Tua Tagovailoa’s college career to this point would be a roller coaster ride in itself.

From coming off the bench his freshman season for Alabama to becoming an overnight sensation, followed by a record-breaking sophomore year that resulted in a trip to New York as a Heisman trophy finalist, life is coming at the sophomore from Hawaii faster than ever.

And he hasn’t had a minute to appreciate the moment in peace.

“Honestly, I’ve never really had time to just think of wow, this is really happening, soak everything in because I’ve been getting treatment every time I come back to my room; guys coming in to see if I’m good or not,” Tagovailoa said during today’s press conference. “I’m just looking at trying to get better right now. And when tomorrow night comes, I feel like we can worry about it tomorrow night.”

But just because Tagovailoa hasn’t stopped to smell the roses doesn’t mean that he isn’t grateful for the opportunity to not only represent the Crimson Tide, but also his home state of Hawaii.

“The journey has been awesome. It’s a blessing just to be here,” he said. “When you’re young, you have dreams, you have aspirations and it’s definitely one of my dreams to be able to come New York. To be mentioned with the Heisman talk is amazing. To be a finalist with these other guys is amazing as well.”

A finalist alongside Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, Tagovailoa’s Heisman campaign took a bit of a hit after his performance in the SEC title game which he left early in the fourth quarter due to injury.

Win or lose, however, the former Saint Louis star said he’s fortunate enough to just be apart of the fanfare after watching one his mentors, Marcus Mariota, hoist the trophy four years ago.

“I didn’t really take it upon myself that I was the next guy right away. I did understand that it would take a lot of hard work to get to where Marcus was at,” Tagovailoa said. “But now that I’m here, I definitely do believe that it’s a legacy thing. If we do win it, that would be awesome and I get the opportunity to carry that torch. But if not, you just gotta keep playing football. We get two more games if we end up winning this next game.”

The Heisman Trophy will be handed out tomorrow afternoon on ESPN at 3 p.m. HT. Hawaii News Now will provide live coverage on all digital platforms before and after the ceremony.

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