Today’s column is on Tua Tagovailoa, the “It” guy of Hawaii high school football, and maybe even the nation. Here are a few outtakes from him and his quarterbacks coach at Saint Louis, Vince Passas:
Tua only plays football.
“I was playing tee-ball and I hated it. Too slow. Played basketball for fun, still do. I ran track one year.”
He said his religion and his family keep him grounded.
“The reason I can do the things I do is God. I was born with ability, but I have to work hard to make the most of it. I believe God doesn’t reward people who don’t work hard.
“When you come from a Samoan family, people look at you. How you talk. How you stand. How you present yourself.”
Although he will be taking other visits, Tua said his commitment to Alabama remains firm because he feels so strongly about Coach Nick Saban.
“I got to go to church with him, him and his wife, Miss Terri. That’s what they do in the South, you call all the ladies, ‘Miss.’ I have so much respect for him. Just talked to him today.”
He knows that all the national hype makes him even more of a target for opposing defenses this season.
“Everyone wants attention, and the best way to get attention is to get the guy who’s getting the most attention.”
Vince Passas knows the feeling of being a Saint Louis quarterback who doesn’t graduate having won the ultimate prize on the football field. He was the Crusaders quarterback in 1973 at the inaugural Prep Bowl when Waianae beat Saint Louis 6-0 in a mud bog.
“Tua doesn’t want to be the guy who doesn’t leave with a state championship, especially when so many here have.”
Passas still throws the football about 200 times a day, and says his arm is stronger than it was 43 years ago when he was in high school.