Sports Info Solutions (SIS) brings you the second annual edition of The SIS Football Rookie Handbook, with scouting reports and statistical breakdowns on over 280 college football players who are likely to be drafted or signed as rookie free agents in 2020 (a glossary for the below stats can be found here). New features for this year include unique and informative NFL team pages, research deep-dives by the SIS R&D team, and—for the first time ever—the NCAA version of their flagship football statistic, Total Points.
For our second quarterback preview, we will look at Tua Tagavoiloa. A brief explainer of our quarterback grading scale can be found in our preview of Joe Burrow from earlier this week.
Tua Tagovailoa: QB Rank 2 of 17 | Final Grade: 6.9
Report by Jeremy Percy & Dan Foehrenbach
Tagovailoa is a highly accurate and clutch quarterback with great leadership ability and a winning pedigree, who will excel at the next level as long as he protects himself and stays healthy.
Tagovailoa was the quarterback in Alabama’s spread RPO-heavy offense. He played in 33 career games and started 24 the past two seasons. His freshman year MVP performance off the bench in the National Championship game placed him in the national spotlight moving forward, which he handled admirably. He was plagued by multiple ankle injuries throughout his career and had his 2019 season cut short after suffering a serious hip injury. He is a bit short for the quarterback position but has a solid build overall and good athleticism, hip recovery pending. He is a well-respected leader and has a knack for playing winning football.
Tagovailoa has very good spot-on accuracy and can effectively put the ball on his receivers to most areas of the field. However, his arm strength is limited deep and can hinder his ability to hit receivers on go routes in stride consistently. His great short accuracy allows his elite receivers to make plays after the catch, something Tagovailoa and the Alabama offense greatly benefitted from. He demonstrated good decision making through his career, but he hasn’t had to make many high-level reads or get deep in his progressions given the spread offense they run. He has done a good job of limiting turnovers in the air in most situations. He has taken more chances on jump balls later in his career and trusts that his receivers are better than the defenders guarding them.
He is efficient in the RPO game, knowing when to pull the ball and get it out to slants and bubble screens. He has very technical footwork in his drops and has explosive hips and lower body twitch to get throws off quickly. He makes throws with good anticipation and has an innate feel for pressure in the pocket to reset himself with proper technique while keeping his eyes downfield. He also shows the ability to vary his arm angles, an important trait for his stature. His mobility allows him to extend plays outside the pocket, and his ability to make throws on the move with an awkward base beneath him is special. Tagovailoa’s arm strength is sufficient. He can drive the ball in short to intermediate windows but on deep throws, he visibly activates his entire body to generate distance. He’s shown the ability to manipulate coverages with his eyes and flip his hips and shoulders to the opposite sideline.
In the run game, Tagovailoa has proven to be a capable rushing threat on scrambles. His rushing production dropped later in his career as lower-body injuries have mounted, but in the past, he showed good elusiveness and speed to gain yards with the defense’s back turned. He’s done a good job of protecting himself downfield.
Tagovailoa projects as a starter who can be the reason his team wins games. He is a very accurate and technical left-handed quarterback who executes the finer details of the position to a high degree. His latest injury presents a major unknown into how well he can regain the lower-body twitch and synchronicity that made him special in college.
|Spot-on accuracy||Arm strength|
|Eye discipline||Deep accuracy|
|Year||Att||Comp||Comp%||Yds||Y/A||ADoT||ADoC||TD / INT||Sacks||Rating|
|2017||77||49||64%||636||8.3||8.9||6.9||11 / 2||3||118.3|
|2018||355||245||69%||3966||11.2||9.5||7.8||43 / 6||12||138.7|
|2019||252||180||71%||2840||11.3||8.3||6.1||33 / 3||10||143.2|
|Career||684||474||69%||7442||10.9||9||7.1||87 / 11||25||138|
|Passing Analytics||Rushing (Excluding scrambles)||Dropbacks|
|IQR Detail||Total Points|
|Year||Deep Throws||vs. Blitz||Under Pressure||No Pressure||vs. Man||vs. Zone||Pass||Rush||Total|