Sallee: Tua Could Return To Alabama

Barrett Sallee explains why Tua Tagovailoa could return to Tuscaloosa – and why the Tide's playoff odds may have increased

Reiter Than You
November 18, 2019 - 10:19 pm
Tua Tagovailoa

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Tua Tagovailoa underwent surgery to repair a dislocated right hip Monday, and he is expected to make a full recovery. 

Whether that recovery occurs in college or the NFL, however, is unknown.

“I would imagine it’s going to be a pretty extensive rehab – nine months, 12 months,” CBS Sports college football writer Barrett Sallee said on Reiter Than You. “I think for Tua, do you want to go to the NFL with that hanging over your head? I had heard from scouts – before this injury – that there were still durability concerns, rightfully so with the way he’s been injured in the past. Now what happens now? Does his value decrease to the point where he does want to come back? Does he want to come back for four games next year, potentially take a redshirt and prove that he is healthy and then have a decision to make after next year? I don’t know. But it’s not going to be cut and dry.”

If Tagovailoa enters the 2020 NFL Draft, his draft stock would undoubtedly be affected – and not in a good way.

“I can’t imagine an NFL general manager, with this injury, saying, ‘Yeah, we don’t care. We’re going to pick you where we need to pick you. Not a problem,’” Sallee said. “Is that, coupled with the ankle stuff that he’s already gone through, enough to give general managers pause? I can’t see how that wouldn’t be the case.”

The Tide (9-1), meanwhile, will turn to Mac Jones for a tune-up against Western Carolina (3-8) before a showdown with Auburn (7-3) in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 30. If Jones leads Alabama to victory, Sallee thinks the Tide will have a legitimate shot to reach the College Football Playoff, especially if their chief competition is Oregon (9-1).

“It’s strange,” Sallee said. “It’s harder for Alabama to win at Auburn with Mac Jones, but I think it’s easier for them to get into the College Football Playoff if they win at Auburn with Mac Jones because the scenarios that still have to play out are the same. . . . Probably the most likely one is Oregon (as a) one-loss Pac-12 champ being the other option. Well, there are people that would value a conference championship for Oregon on that committee. But what does that mean if Alabama goes on the road and beats Auburn with a backup quarterback? Does that make them more likely to choose Alabama because that’s a much more difficult circumstance? I think the answer is probably yes.”