Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa talks current Alabama QB Bryce Young at 'Luau with Tua'

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News
Tua Tagovailoa announced his intention to enter the NFL draft Monday, Jan. 6, 2020 during a press conference in the Naylor Stone Media Suite at the University of Alabama. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa launched the Tua Foundation in February, and he wanted to make sure one of the first events he held was in Tuscaloosa. 

So, the former Alabama quarterback played host to the first "Luau with Tua" in The Zone inside Bryant-Denny Stadium on Tuesday. 

"I think it was important to have it here because this was a steppingstone to get to where I am at now," Tagovailoa said. "The biggest thing that I could say is that I wanted to be able to give back." 

The event was held to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of West Alabama as well as the Nick's Kids Foundation. It included a silent and live auction, Polynesian food and entertainment including fire knife dancing. All guests received Hawaiian leis at the door. 

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Tagovailoa also spoke with reporters at the beginning of the event, covering everything from returning to Tuscaloosa to current Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. 

How he compares to Bryce Young

Tagovailoa watched Young some in the A-Day Game and he thinks Young is doing pretty well. 

But Tagovailoa said he doesn't see similarities with his game and Young's. 

"I think he is really instinctive," Tagovailoa said. "He can extend plays really well. And he has a really good arm. He’s very talented. I wasn’t a runner like him. He can run." 

Recent Alabama QB pipeline to NFL

His quarterback room at one point included him, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. Not too shabby. 

Tagovailoa said they didn't really talk about potentially bright futures for them. Instead, they learned from each other. Jones, Tagovailoa and Hurts asked each other questions such as why something worked so well for one quarterback or how another quarterback pulled something off. 

And each one reached the NFL, which bodes well for recruiting future quarterbacks. 

"If you’re a competitor, you obviously want to come to the best," Tagovailoa said. "What better place to do that than Alabama? That was kind of my mindset coming in to the University of Alabama my freshman year. I think we all helped each other develop and grow as a quarterback room." 

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Reuniting with Jaylen Waddle

The two former Alabama teammates now call Miami home after the Dolphins selected Waddle in the first round in 2021. 

"It’s been good," Tagovailoa said. "It’s always exciting I think when you get to reunite with a former teammate as well as a familiar face. I am really excited honestly just to have the group of guys we have this year." 

Returning to Tuscaloosa after injury

When Tagovailoa last played at the site of his first foundation event, his hip dislocated and fractured the posterior wall in November 2019. 

"It’s been a journey," Tagovailoa said. "But I think it’s been a really good journey. A pretty impactful journey in my life. I’m just really glad to give back and help give back to the communities."