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AP Photo/David J. Phillip

2018 Heisman Candidate Countdown #9: Tua Tagovailoa

The 2018 Heisman Trophy candidate countdown continues with another talented quarterback from a premiere school. Here’s the countdown to this point:


#25: Jalen Hurts

#24: Adrian Martinez

#23: Travis Etienne

#22: Shane Buechele

#21: Nick Fitzgerald

#20: Rodney Anderson

#19: Justice Hill

#18: A.J. Brown

#17: Damien Harris

#16: Drew Lock

#15: McKenzie Milton

#14: Khalil Tate

#13: Will Grier

#12: Justin Herbert

#11: Dwayne Haskins

#10: Shea Patterson


Tua Tagovailoa stepped into last season’s national title game against Georgia and was a hero for Alabama, helping lead them to yet another championship. He could have a chance to compete for college football’s most prestigious individual honor this season.


Why he can win it

The second half of the national championship displayed all you need to know about why Tagovailoa can win the Heisman Trophy. In that game, Tagovailoa tossed three touchdowns including the game-winner in overtime. His passes were accurate and on-time, and he looked like a four-year senior instead of a true freshman. With another year of experience, Tagovailoa could put up big numbers every week in 2018. The Crimson Tide are a good bet to be in contention for the SEC championship and in the College Football Playoff discussion, which could be necessary for Tagovailoa to be in the Heisman race.


Why he won’t win it

The big obvious roadblock to Tagovailoa competing for the Heisman Trophy is Jalen Hurts. The junior Hurts has more experience under-center for Alabama, and he could ultimately get the nod as the team’s starting quarterback this season. If not, it’s possible Hurts gets enough playing time behind Tagovailoa that it’s difficult for either of them to put up Heisman-worthy numbers. Tagovailoa is the riskiest of the top-ten Heisman candidates.


What needs to happen

Basically, Tagovailoa is going to need to win the job outright and have Hurts transfer. He needs to show the poise he did on the big stage last season and help lead Alabama to another outstanding year.


Stat projection

248/389 (63.8%) | 3,268 PASS YDS | 34 PASS TD | 5 INT

78 CAR | 367 RUSH YDS | 7 RUSH TD | 4.7 AVG


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