Taulia Tagovailoa must be fairly confident he’ll be able to get a waiver from the NCAA.
The Maryland quarterback entered the transfer portal as a graduate transfer on Friday, according to multiple reports. The move comes as Tagovailoa doesn’t currently have any college eligibility left.
A member of the 2019 recruiting class, Tagovailoa has already played five seasons of college football and used his extra eligibility the NCAA granted players because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He spent the first season of his career at Alabama with older brother and current Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa before transferring to Maryland ahead of the 2020 season.
Tagovailoa immediately became Maryland’s starting quarterback after he arrived on campus and played in four of the team’s five games in 2020. He then played in 37 games over the next three seasons for the Terrapins and started all 12 regular season games for the team in 2023 before opting out of the bowl game.
This season, Tagovailoa was 290-of-437 passing for 3,377 and 25 TDs with 11 interceptions. He finished his career with the Terrapins 955-of-1,424 passing for 11,256 yards and 76 TDs to 37 interceptions. He’s the school’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns.
So how could Tagovailoa play a sixth season of college football? His year at Alabama is his waiver case. Tagovailoa appeared in five games as a freshman in 2019. He attempted 12 passes that season and only attempted passes in three games.
Had Tagovailoa appeared in four games, he could have redshirted that season and still had a year of eligibility remaining without a waiver. He told ESPN that he had filed for a waiver for an extra year of eligibility because he appeared in Alabama’s 38-7 win over Mississippi State. Tagovailoa handed off twice to end that game after Tua suffered a season-ending hip injury earlier in the game.
“Honestly if I could do it again, hopefully my brother doesn’t get injured and I’m not in that emotional state where I want to play in the game,” Tagovailoa told ESPN’s Pete Thamel. “If I got to do it over again, I wouldn’t have played in the game.”
“Coach asked me if I wanted to go in. Of course I wanted to go in and play for my brother. And that’s what happened.”
That game was the fourth game Tagovailoa had appeared in during 2019. The fifth game came a week later when he completed two of his three pass attempts against Western Carolina. Had he not played against the FCS program, he would have been able to count 2019 as a redshirt year.
If Tagovailoa gets an extra year of eligibility, he’ll have no shortage of suitors from Power Five programs looking for an experienced starter. It’s easy to see how Miami could be interested in his services now that QB Tyler Van Dyke has transferred and because Tua is with the Dolphins.
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