Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was considering a transfer during his freshman season, according to a report from

Tagovailoa was speaking to students at his former middle school in Hawaii and raised the topic while talking about perseverance.

“Even throughout my football season, I wasn’t the starter,” Tagovailoa said, according to the report. “I wanted to leave the school. So I told myself if I didn’t play in the last game, which was the national championship game, I would transfer out. If I gave in, I don’t think I would have seen the end blessing of where I am now.”

Tagovailoa said he also considered a transfer earlier during his freshman season.

“I called my dad and asked him if my offer to the University of Southern California was still available,” Tagovailoa said. “I wanted to leave. I told my dad I wanted to go to a school where I thought it’d be easier for me and wouldn’t challenge me so much.”

Tagovailoa spent most of the season as Alabama’s backup quarterback to sophomore Jalen Hurts. He finished his freshman season with 470 passing yards, four touchdowns and one interception.

His breakthrough came in the national championship game, when he started in the second half in place of Hurts. He went 14-for-24 for 166 yards with three touchdowns and one interception the rest of the way to lead Alabama to a 26-23 overtime win.