Drawing inspiration from late father, new Kapolei quarterback Tuli Tagovailoa-Amosa Jr. hoping to make a name for himself in 2021

Cover2 HS Football

Based on his name alone, Tuli Tagovailoa-Amosa Jr. will have a lot to live up to when he takes the field for the Kapolei football team this fall.

After playing for Thompson High School in Alabama last fall, the sophomore quarterback will be making his debut for the Hurricanes against Kahuku on Friday night.

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Tagovailoa-Amosa’s brother, Myron, is currently a standout defensive lineman for Notre Dame. His cousin, Taulia, was the starting quarterback for the Hurricanes from 2015 to 2016 before finishing off his high school career at Thompson. Taulia’s brother, Tua, is the state’s all-time leading passer and currently in his second season with the Miami Dolphins.

“Just seeing their work ethic and how they do things, it’s a blessing and it just motivates me to do the same,” Tuli told KHON2’s Alan Hoshida of Taulia and Tua. “I took a lot of things (from being around them), but just being confident, having faith that when you go out there, you gotta go 100 percent and be the best player out there.”

Tuli Tagovailoa-Amosa Jr. will have much more than legacy to play for this fall. He’ll also play in honor of his father, Tuli Sr., who passed away unexpectedly in September due to blood clots in his lungs. He was 53.

“I cherish those moments a lot,” Tuli Jr. says of the memories. “I miss my dad and I can’t really be sad but just use what he’s taught me just to get better and make him happy.”

“I see so much of my husband in all of my boys,” added Tuli Sr.’s wife, Saipeti. “Their height, their features, when they speak, it brings so much comfort. It feels as if he’s never left at all.”

Tuli Tagovailoa Sr. was a pastor based in the west side of Oahu. His sons, which include Myron, Tuli, and former Navy defensive tackle Adam Amosa-Tagovailoa, were raised with faith, family and football as the pillars in their lives.

Tuli Tagovailoa Sr. also founded the Ewa Beach Sabers youth football organization and coached it with friends and family members. Notable alumni other than the Tagovailoas include Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett and 2019 Cover2 Marcus Mariota Player of the Year Titus Mokiao-Atimalala, who is now a freshman wide receiver at UCF.

“My husband just kind of ran with the vision, he got something started and the rest was history,” Saipeti recalls.

Tuli Jr., who already holds an offer from Maryland, faces a tough test to open his Hawaii high school career when he faces a Red Raiders defense that is always stingy. To Hurricanes head coach Darren Hernandez, Tuli’s talent is evident. The 2021 season will be about harnessing his tools.

“The quick release, the accuracy, the footwork, all of those things are hallmarks of the way they train so we’re hoping that it all kicks in this season,” Hernandez said.

Come game time, and every other contest thereafter, Tuli Tagovailoa’s memory will live on though his namesake.

“Every play, just always coming out here and remembering my dad and just trying to go hard every play and just focus and being disciplined and trust in the coaches that I can lead them to a win,” Tuli Jr. said.

“It’s a blessing to me. Just to be named after him and grateful that (Tagovailoa’s parents) named me after my dad.”

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