For years, Tua Tagovailoa grew up being compared to fellow Hawaiian sensation Marcus Mariota. Phrases like “Tua is the second-coming of Marcus Mariota,” and Tagovailoa is “the next Marcus Mariota,” circulated the web, shining a spotlight on the talent flourishing from Hawaii and the surrounding islands.
The two Saint Louis alums could possibly face off when the Raiders and Dolphins play each other on Saturday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
When asked about the possible match up Tua said, “I think that would be awesome seeing Marcus because me and Kamu (Grugier-Hill), we’re from Hawaii,” referencing the Dolphins linebacker. “Marcus is from Hawaii. Me and Marcus went to the same high school. I think that will be something pretty cool, something special.”
Mariota on Tagovailoa
“Tua was out there throwing with the younger kids,” Mariota told AL.com. “And I think all of us high school kids were looking like ‘He’s pretty good. Who is that?’ It ended up being Tua and he actually came over and started throwing with us high schoolers and I think we all looked at each other and said he was going to be pretty good one day. I’m excited for him.
I think he’s done a great job representing not only himself, but the whole state of Hawaii.”
The two quarterbacks along with Punahou alum Manti Te’o are the only Hawaii high school graduates to be Heisman Trophy finalists with Teo’ and Tagovailoa both finishing second in 2012 and 2018 respectively, while Mariota won the award in 2014.
After thier respective college careers, Tua in Alabama and Mariota with Oregon, they both went on become top-five NFL Draft picks five years apart from each other.
Mariota signed a two year free agent contract with the Raiders during the offseason after spending his first five NFL seasons with the Titans who drafted him second overall in 2015.
Tua, who was selected fifth overall by Miami in this April’s draft has made seven starts for the Dolphins, having gone 5-2 in that stretch. He has passed for 1,359 yards, 9 touchdowns with two interceptions having completed 63% of his passes.
In Mariota’s Raiders debut, he completed 17 of 28 passes for 226 yards with a touchdown and an interception along with a rushing touchdown and 88 yards on nine carries on the ground.
The Dolohins, at 9-5 are currently in possession of a wild card spot in the AFC playoff race and are two games ahead of the 7-7 Raiders.