Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa will enter 2020 NFL Draft

Jan. 6 (UPI) — Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is leaving the school in order to enter the 2020 NFL Draft.

Tagovailoa announced his decision to head to the NFL Monday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Crimson Tide star completed 71.4 percent of his throws for 2,840 yards, 33 touchdowns and three interceptions this season before sustaining a season-ending hip injury.

“It was just a hard decision all around, taking into consideration the pros and cons for both sides of the decision,” Tagovailoa said. “I seek guidance from my family. This is a decision I’m going to have to live with. I made it and I’m good with it.”

Tagovailoa is expected to be picked in the top half of the 2020 NFL Draft. He said he is focusing on rehabbing the injury, which he sustained during the Crimson Tide’s Nov. 16 win against Mississippi State.

The Crimson Tide star said he plans to stay at Alabama to rehab the injury for the foreseeable future.

Tagovailoa rose to fame when he replaced former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts during the National Championship game in 2018 against Georgia. The Crimson Tide trailed 13-0 before Tagovailoa led them back into the game and threw a game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Tagovailoa completed 69 percent of his throws for 3,966 yards, 43 scores and six interceptions in 15 games during the 2018 season. He finished second in Heisman Trophy voting that season.

“I know this has been a very difficult decision for him and his family,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. ” I think it’s fitting that a guy who has had such an impact on our program and college football has a press conference.”

Several teams in the early portion of the first round 2020 NFL Draft order need a quarterback. The Cincinnati Bengals have the No. 1 overall pick, but are expected to select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. The Washington Redskins have the No. 2 overall pick, but used a first-round pick on a quarterback last year. The Miami Dolphins have the No. 5 overall pick and are the next team in the order that needs one.

Teams with later picks could also opt to trade up in the draft order to select Tagovailoa.

Several other Crimson Tide stars have announced their decisions to enter the NFL Draft, including wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, right tackle Jedrick Wills and safety Xavier McKinney. Saban said he expects more decisions from his players in the coming days.

The 2020 NFL Draft is from April 25 to 27 in Las Vegas.

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