Tua Plays Like Brees, Brady; Still Has "A Ways To Go"

Tua Tagovailoa will almost certainly win the Heisman Trophy, but the true sophomore is far from a finished product

Taz and the Moose
November 05, 2018 - 10:12 am

USA Today Images


After shutting out No. 3 LSU on the road Saturday night, No. 1 Alabama (9-0) cemented its status as the king of college football. The Tide will likely go unchallenged in the SEC-West – and perhaps the entire SEC, unless No. 6 Georgia (8-1) has something to say about it in the SEC Championship in Atlanta on Dec. 1.

Is there a team in the country that can beat Alabama? Maybe not, but Backroads Sports Network analyst Mike Johnson sees a couple of teams that would at least have a chance.

“Clemson with Kelly Bryant did not scare me. They didn’t scare me at all. Now fast forward and you got Trevor Lawrence playing quarterback – now all of a sudden they’re a little bit more scary,” Johnson said on Taz & The Moose. “Now all of a sudden you look at them and say, ‘Okay, this team can throw the ball, they can run the ball, they can play defense.’ I think Clemson is probably at the top of my list.”

After Clemson (9-0), Johnson gives Oklahoma (8-1) the best chance of toppling the Tide. Why? One reason, two words: Kyler Murray.

Murray has thrown for 2,689 yards, rushed for 574 and has 38 touchdowns (31 pass, seven rush) to just five interceptions this season.

“If you’re going to beat a Nick Saban defense, a guy like Kyler Murray is who you have to bring to the table,” Johnson said. “For that reason and that reason alone, Lincoln Riley calling up the plays, those two teams are the ones that I’m like, ‘Wow, I really hope we avoid that matchup.’”

Tua Tagovailoa, meanwhile, continues to dominate college football. He threw his first interception of the season at LSU, but still has 30 touchdowns (27 pass, three rush) on the year.

How will Tagovailoa, a true sophomore, perform at the next level?

“I look at Tua, and I still think there’s a ways to go,” Johnson said. “Obviously everybody is kind of crowning him and he’s probably on course to win the Heisman Trophy this year – and I think he’s a great quarterback. Watch Tua’s feet. They’re always pulling in the direction he’s going to go. He’s got extreme bounce in his legs. He got nicked up a little bit with the knee injury, but his feet are incredible. His ability to get the ball downfield, it is very Drew Brees- or Tom Brady-like, the urgency he plays quarterback with. 

“I think that’s the hardest thing for college football quarterbacks,” Johnson continued. “To play with urgency, to understand, ‘I don’t have five seconds. I can’t take a 15-yard drop and wait seven or eight seconds. I’m not playing Mike Leach’s offense right now.’ So that’s Tua Tagovailoa, and he’s been very, very good at that.”

Alabama plays its final three games of the season at home. The Tide host No. 18 Mississippi State (6-3) this Saturday, The Citadel (3-5) on Nov. 17, and Auburn (6-3) on Nov. 24.