What's next for Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa?
Will Tua Tagovailoa declare for the NFL draft following this season or will he return for his senior season at Alabama? That is the question the world of college football is craving to know. Today, we are going to provide some analysis of those two options and give you our final take on the situation.
Let’s start with Tua Tagovailoa’s hip injury he suffered against Mississippi State back on November 16. The injury occurred when Tagovailoa was flushed out of the pocket and two Mississippi State defenders tackled Tagovailoa and on the play, Tagovailoa dislocated his hip, broke the back wall of the hip socket, and also broke his nose.
Once the nation heard broken hip socket the worst was feared and people were quick to jump to the conclusion that Tagovailoa would suffer Avascular Necrosis. Basically the bone tissue around the area would die because of lack of blood flow, and it would end Tagovailoa’s playing career, similar to what happened to NFL great Bo Jackson.
What was different about this injury was the fact that the doctors were able to quickly reset the hip into place and that Tagovailoa was flown to Houston, Texas to have surgery two days following the injury and it was Dr. Chip Routt of The University of Texas Health Science Center who actually performed the surgery along with Dr. Lyle Cain who played a major role in the immediate assessment of the injury that both said Tagovailoa is expected to make a full recovery.
Road to recovery
Tagovailoa, of course, has the option to return for his senior season at Alabama as he is a true junior. A lot of his upcoming decision likely depends on his rehab and pending medical evaluations. From what we gather, the first six weeks of the rehab process should be limited activity and rest. With a hip fracture, it’s like any other bone that breaks, time and rest is the best course of action.
So after tests and evaluations are done following those six weeks to make sure the hip is making a full recovery, he can then start football activities, so you’re looking at Tagovailoa throwing again at some point in the month of March.
These are key dates to keep in mind going forward
The deadline for current juniors and current red-shirt sophomores to declare for the NFL draft is four days following their final game of the season. As of right now, Alabama does not know if they are going to the playoffs or to a Bowl game. But we can narrow down those dates: The national championship is January 13, the playoff games are scheduled for the 28th of December, the Sugar Bowl is January 1, and the Orange Bowl is on December 30.
That should give Tagovailoa and his counsel enough time to gauge: One the recovery process and two: have a better understanding of his NFL draft placement. The NFL scouting combine is from February 23 until March 2nd and while it’s highly unlikely that Tagovailoa participates in the scouting combine, he could have private workouts for NFL teams or attend Alabama’s pro-day which is usually a week after the scouting combine in mid-March of 2020. So as you can see there is plenty of time for Tagovailoa to be seen by NFL GM’s, coaches, and scouts before the NFL Draft which is on April 23.
Tua is still projected as a 1st round draft pick
While teams are no longer tanking for Tagovailoa, there is still a ton of optimism that he is taken in the first round. Tagovailoa is no longer a top-five pick, but NFL draft experts still have him going as early as No. 10 and as late as No. 25 playing under a veteran quarterback while he can get fully healthy and improve his skill set. As long as there are no setbacks with his recovery and Tagovailoa can still demonstrate his rocket of an arm with some decent mobility in the spring, it’s hard to imagine Tagovailoa leaving money on the table.
Why returning to Alabama makes zero cents
One scenario is that Tagovailoa returns for his senior season at Alabama. This does not make sense as we explained, he’d be giving up millions of dollars from the 2020 draft and who’s to say that another injury does not happen?
Since being at Alabama Tagovailoa: broke his index finger which required surgery, suffered separate knee and quad injuries, underwent tightrope surgery to repair each ankle, and most recently he dislocated his hip, broke the back wall of the hip socket, and broke his nose. There is zero reason to risk losing millions of dollars playing at the college level where players get paid zero.
Tagovailoa has proven time and time again, that he has the ability to play on Sunday’s throwing for 7,442-yards and 87 touchdowns at Alabama, but maybe the bigger question going forward is: Can and will he stay healthy in the NFL?
Kyle Henderson is the managing editor of BamaInsider.com | Email him at kyle@BamaInsider.com