On December 3rd of 2018, the Heisman Trophy Finalists will be announced. The Heisman Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the most outstanding college football player in the United States by the Heisman Trophy Trust. On December 8th, the winner will be announced and while we’re just at the midway point of the college football season, Alabama’s prized sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is the current front-runner for the award.
While Alabama has had two players win the Heisman Trophy Award in Mark Ingram in 2009 and Derrick Henry in 2015, the Crimson Tide have never had a quarterback win the award. Today, we examine why the left-handed Hawaiian quarterback is the favorite to win the award and how his play has taken the Alabama football dynasty to new offensive heights.
Through the first eight games of the 2018 season, Tagovailoa is 107 of 152 passing which is right at 70%. He has thrown for 2,066-yards with 25 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Per game, his average is 258.2 and his efficiency rating is 238.84.
Against the SEC this season, Tagovailoa has thrown for 1,483-yards with 17 touchdowns and has an efficiency rating of 233.64. His 306-yards against Tennessee is his third 300-yard passing game of the season. With Tagovailoa at the helm, he has directed 62 drives as the Tide’s starting quarterback with 41 resulting touchdowns. As mentioned, Tagovailoa has 25 touchdowns which are just six touchdown passes shy of the record (30) at Alabama set by AJ McCarron in 2012.
Nick Saban on Tagoivailoa
According to Nick Saban, Tagovailoa has handled the fame and attention quite well. “He has not changed his attitude towards preparation or how he plays in the game,” said Saban during the bye week.
Earlier this season, Tagovailoa was asked about his season success and credited his teammates rather than himself. “This is just the expectations we have as a whole offense. This is not something that could have been done by myself, this is a team effort and this is a testament to what they are doing, not so much myself.”
Rating By Game
235.4 vs. Louisville
238.7 vs. Arkansas State
224.3 vs. Ole Miss
225.7 vs. Texas A&M
316.9 vs. Lousiana
394.3 vs. Arkansas
200.7 vs. Missouri
199.7 vs. Tennessee
Stats by Game
12 of 16 for 227-yards with 2 touchdowns vs. Louisville
13 of 19 for 228-yards with 4 touchdowns vs. Arkansas State
11 of 15 for 191-yards with 2 touchdowns vs. Ole Miss
22 of 30 for 387-yards with 4 touchdowns vs. Texas A&M
8 of 8 for 128-yards with 2 touchdowns vs. Louisiana
10 of 13 for 334-yards with 4 touchdowns vs. Arkansas
12 of 22 for 265-yards with 3 touchdowns vs. Missouri
19-29 for 306-yards with 4 touchdowns vs. Tennessee
With the help of pro-football focus, we can take a deep dive on Tagovailoa game by game. From his first game against Louisville to his eighth game against Tennessee, he has an offensive grade out of 92.7 and was named as the 1st team quarterback on the midseason PFF all-American team.
His passing directional chart is incredible especially when he makes throws over 20-yards downfield. To the outside left, he is four of seven for 110-yards with three touchdowns and a grade of 95.9. Across the middle and 20-yards downfield he is nine of twelve for 405-yards with four touchdowns, a grade average of 95.9, and to the outside right and 20-yards downfield he has a grade average of 92.8 going five of nine for 221-yards with three touchdowns.
So what does Vegas say about winning the Heisman? As of October 24, 2018, Tagovailoa has an implied probability to win the Heisman Trophy of 73.3% and as you know Vegas does not miss often. To start the season, Tagovailoa’s odds to win the Heisman Trophy were just 15/2.