It’s not often that a rookie freshman without any serious play time all season leads his team to win the national championship on the most coveted platform in college football.
But that’s exactly what happened for Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa on Monday night in their nail-biter against Georgia.
Coach Nick Saban told Tagovailoa that he’d be going in after they were trailing 13-0 at halftime, and the poised freshman humbly stepped up to the challenge, leading Alabama to a 26-23 OT victory over their rivals.
But the most awe-inspiring part of the night was when Tagovailoa redirected the praises lavished on him to his Lord and Savior.
“What went through your mind when you realized you were going to play in a national championship game?” he was asked in a post-game interview.
“My parents would be mad, so excuse me, but first and foremost I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” replied Tagovailoa. “With Him, all things are possible and that’s what happened tonight.”
The freshman quarterback was launched into insta-fame after his all-star performance, but after crediting God, he went on to applaud his team for making him ‘look good’:
“It was a team effort tonight. It couldn’t have been done without the defense getting us the ball back. Oline working their butts off, receivers getting open, it was just a great team effort. They were the guys that made me look good tonight.”
Quite an impressive response for a mere teenager.
But for those who know Tagovailoa best, his quiet humility and references to his faith came as no surprise.
In an interview with AL.com last year, he was asked what he would like fans to know about him off the field. His reply was again chock-full of wisdom beyond his years.
“I feel that’s not up to me. That’s up to the fans,” he responded. “They’ve been watching the film. I’m just doing my job and my job is to play the sport that I love. I use my sport and my talent as a tool to spread God’s word. Whatever I get out of it, all glory goes to Him.”
And as for what it means for Tagovailoa to be a national champion? Admittedly, in this moment, he says “it means the world.” But as a young man with his eyes fixed on Christ, he continued, “At the same time, all glory goes to God. I can’t describe what he’s done for me and my family. Who would have ever thought I would be here right now in this moment? I thank God for that.”
See more of Tua Tagovailoa’s post-game commentary in his ESPN interview with Maria Taylor below: