Back in January, Thompson High School (Alabaster, Ala.) quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa knew that football was about to get even more real.
His older brother Tua Tagovailoa had just cemented himself into legendary status, subbing in at halftime of the national championship game to replace then starter Jalen Hurts and leading the Crimson Tide to a 26-23 overtime victory over Georgia. Tua took home MVP honors in the win.
The week after the win, Taulia noticed that his own social media following began to grow, adding more than 5,000 followers in mere days.
Alabama had already offered Taulia and three months later he committed.
“It’s home,” Taulia said. “I’m not still looking around, 100 percent committed. I love everything about Alabama.”
Yes, even the lofty expectations that have already beat Taulia to Tuscaloosa.
“To me that’s the best part,” Taulia said. “With the expectations being so high for me it forces me to get better; it makes me work harder.”
That’s paid off this season. Taulia has the Warriors sitting at 8-1 and is completing 64 percent of his passes while averaging 336 passing yards and three touchdowns a game.
That’s almost as good as Tua, who has the Crimson Tide undefeated, ranked No. 1 overall and is the runaway favorite to win the Heisman.
“I want people to expect a lot,” Taulia said. “I learned from my dad and my brother and I know that I’m prepared. I don’t get tired of hearing about my brother or being compared to him because it’s a blessing that he’s done what he’s done. We’re similar, but I’m my own player. I’m going to be the best me now and when I get there. I’m working on winning a state title now; when I get there, I’ll work on a national title.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY