Road ‘Tua’ Heisman: Tagovailoa grateful for support, focuses on national championship


Saint Louis graduate Tua Tagovailoa did not win the 84th Heisman Trophy Saturday night, finishing second to Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.

It was the tightest race in Heisman history as Tagovailoa received the most first-place votes for a runner-up ever, falling short by 296 points.

Tagovailoa was the overwhelming favorite for most of the year. Some say last weekend’s performance in the SEC title game may have contributed to his second-place finish. He played through two sprained ankles and threw two interceptions.

But that doesn’t seem to bother the University of Alabama sophomore. Tagovailoa says he’s grateful for all the support leading up to the Heisman presentation, but he’s got his sights on another national championship. 

Playing for team accomplishments and his home state remains the unquestioned quest. 

KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello caught up with Tagovailoa in New York City Saturday.

Tagovailoa: I’ve said this before. When you go into a game and you’re comfortable doing what you do, you go out there to play and have fun. Whatever happens, happens. Unfortunately I threw two interceptions and I got hurt, sprained both my ankles, but that’s just how the ball goes sometimes. Like I said, the amount of support Hawaii gives us, the Brotherhood is very strong alive and well. I don’t have the tattoo yet. Saint Louis alumni have them. It’s very cool. I can remember when I was there to watch it and how much people were there to support Marcus, and for me to be on the stage like this and have that amount of support from the Saint Louis family and people in Hawaii, that’s a blessing to me.

DeMello: Since high school, you’ve always said never be satisfied. You’re always looking for the next. But today, are you able to slow down a bit and think, ‘I came a long way,’ and be proud of yourself?  

Tagovailoa: Not really. Still got a game to play, and my success is because of my team’s success because of what my teammates have been doing, the guys surrounding me. So not really. If we win another national championship, then we can say we did pretty good.

Tagovailoa will have a chance to chase after his second national title starting Dec. 29 in the Orange Bowl as Alabama will take on Murray and the Oklahoma Sooners in the college football playoff semi-final. 

Tagovailoa was without his walking boot Saturday night for the entire evening, and says he fully expects to have his ankle healed and take snaps for Alabama come game time.

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