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What Tua Tagovailoa's Alabama teammates said about him at the NFL Combine

Tua Tagovailoa was not able to participate in on-field workouts at this week’s NFL Combine as he continues to recover from his dislocated right hip. However, the Alabama quarterback was still one of the biggest talking points during combine interviews. Here’s a bit of what Tagovailoa’s Crimson Tide teammates said about him during the event.

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Henry Ruggs III

On Tua Tagovailoa vs. Joe Burrow

“I feel like Tua’s a great player overall, a great man. He’s a great leader for the team. He made us better. I mean, he never shied away from any kind of competition. Once it comes down to it, the organizations have to make their decision on who they feel is going to be the best for them. But all credit to Joe, too. I mean, him and Tua are both great guys. They did great things over there at LSU. He had an exceptional season, so I’m not going to pick one guy over the other. They’re both great guys. And like I said, Tua’s a great leader, a great teammate, and even after the injury he was always around lifting up the team.”

On what is more important, Tagovailoa's physical traits or his leadership.

"Both played a big role. His leadership always made us better. It never let us slack off in practice, and I’ll say that that honestly made us better as a team.”

Jerry Jeudy 

On the case for Tagovailoa to be the first quarterback taken

“I feel like Tua’s a great quarterback no matter where he gets picked. I feel like he’s going to come to the organization and compete like how he’s always done. He’s a great player. I can’t really say anything about him being the No. 1 pick, No. 5 pick, No. 10 pick. I just know the work he’s going to put in and be successful in the league.”

On the effects of losing Tagovailoa late in the year

“Tua’s a big part of the offense, nobody ever wants to see him get down. He brings the energy to the offense. But I felt like when Mac Jones got in there, he did did a great job, too.”

On what about Tagovailoa made players gravitate around him?

“Just how he carried himself. He’s a first-class guy. He does everything right on and off the field. He works hard, and once you see that, you can related to him and you’ll listen to him.”

On the talk that Tagovailoa is injury prone

“I’ve seen Tua face a lot of adversity throughout his career, and I see how he bounced back. So, I feel like this injury won’t affect him at all. He went through injuries in college, came back and still dominated how he did before. I don’t really think injuries are going to affect him now.”

Jedrick Wills Jr. 

On blocking for Tagovailoa when he scrambles out of the pocket.

“He likes to extend plays and run around for as long as he can. But at the end of the day you cant complain because he’ll throw like a 60-yard touchdown over the top of the defense’s head. So at the end of the day it’s just doing my job for as long as I can do, and letting him make plays.

On what a team will get in Tagovailoa when they draft him

“Tua’s a great leader. He’s a competitor. He has that fire to him. He’ll be a leader no matter where he goes, even when he comes in as a rookie. They’re getting a good player on their hands.”

Can you give a story of Tagovailoa's leadership?

“So he got hurt in the Mississippi State game, everybody saw that. Then we end up playing Auburn. He came in the locker room, I remember we were all sitting together, the whole offense with the OC, just kind of going through the game plan on the board and what not. He walked in the room like with his crutch on, hobbling in. It was heartbreaking to see, but he was there like still cheering us on.

"He had that fire to him like it seemed like he was about to go out there and play. And it was crazy just knowing that he had something so dramatic happen to him, and he was still there for us like being the leader that he is.”

On what makes him confident that Tagovailoa will be successful in his recovery?

“He’s came a long way in his recovery. Even when he first got hurt, he was moving really fast which a lot of people didn’t get to see because he was kind of behind the scenes a little bit. But he’s a competitor. He’s going to do everything he can to get back on the field as soon as he can.”

On when he knew Tagovailoa had that “It” factor?

“We came in when we were freshmen, and it was like me, him and like Ruggs and all those guys. We came out of high school, and we all expected to play right away, but we ended up all being on the second team. So we’d be in the second team and we’d go into like a fall-camp scrimmage where it’d be like the twos versus the ones. We’d go out there and give it to them. Like, we were on them really hard. Tua’s out there competing, being the player he can be. Then he went in during the national championship that same season and won for us, which is a great memory.”

Xavier McKinney 

On how going against Tagovailoa has helped his game

“He’s helped me a lot, man. We’ve had talks after practice, and he’s told me what he sees because he’s looked me off several times — several times. I got to a point where I started to get kind of frustrated because I’m like ‘I don’t know how you’re doing this.’ We’ve talked, and I’ve asked him what does he see that I’m not seeing, or what is he doing that I need to do. He’s also told me the same thing: ‘If I’m doing something, let me know after practice. If you don’t see something, let me know.’ So that’s how we communicate.”

On if he intercepted Tagovailoa in practice

"I have."

On if he let him hear about it

"I have. It’s not a lot though. I’m not going to sit up here and act like it’s a lot. It’s been probably about three times, but when I do get a pick I’m happy."

Terrell Lewis 

On what Tagovailoa is like as a teammate

"He’s a dog, but he’s a humble dog. He’s a competitor, likes to compete, and then he’s just a great teammate, great leader, great person."

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