This weekend, the Big Apple could very well be transformed to Tua-Town as the Ewa Beach native, Saint Louis graduate, and Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is one of three finalists for the 84th Heisman Trophy, the most coveted individual prize in all of college football.
Now from the preseason, Tagovailoa has been the Heisman front-runner. After a six-touchdown performance against Auburn two weeks ago, he appeared to be a lock.
However, an injury shortened his performance in the SEC title game, creating a Sooner swing as Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray became the Vegas favorite, making this season’s announcement one of the most anticipated and debate-provoking races in recent memory.
It’s a very different vibe from 2014 when fellow Saint Louis graduate Marcus Mariota etched his name into the history books. Ahead of the magical weekend in Manhattan, Mariota, who does have a vote, expressed pride in Tagovailoa reaching New York City.
“That’s what it’s all about, the next generation. To see Tua, who I’ve watched since he was a little kid, get the opportunity to go, it’s unbelievable to be honest with you,” Mariota said. “He’s got a good head on his shoulders. He’s kind of living up to the next generation. Hopefully, he continues to carry the torch, continues to give inspiration to the kids back home. But yeah, just really proud. I think he’s done an unbelievable job. We’ll see what happens on Saturday.”
One of the arguments against Tagovailoa was the lack of a Heisman moment, like a game-winning score or a high-scoring shootout. But perhaps the fact that he only played in three fourth quarters this season due to utter dominance should probably make him on the sideline his Heisman moment.
Only time will tell to see who walks away with the Heisman Trophy. The winner will be announced at a ceremony Saturday at 3 p.m. Hawaii time on ESPN.
Stay with KHON2 News and KHON2.com as we provide the latest from Tagovailoa’s quest to become Hawaii’s next Heisman Trophy winner.