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Alabama launches Heisman campaign for Tua Tagovailoa

And so the Heisman Trophy campaign begins.

Alabama tweeted out a video Tuesday, just before the Crimson Tide was revealed as the No. 1 team in the latest edition of the College Football Playoff Top 25 rankings, that simply said “For your consideration,” as the team started campaigning for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Through 11 games, Tagovailoa is the nation’s highest-rated passer. He leads all quarterbacks in ESPN’s Total QBR metric at 94.6 (out of 100) and his 145.8 NFL passer rating ranks first among all FBS quarterbacks with at least 230 attempts. The sophomore leads the nation in collegiate passer efficiency at 212.2. He has thrown for 2,865 yards on 164-of-237 passing (69.2 percent) with a school-record 31 touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing 41 times for 185 yards and four scores.

Along with leading the NCAA passing efficiency, Tagovailoa also ranks No. 1 in passing yards per completion (17.47) and yards per attempt (12.08). He is No. 7 in passing touchdowns (31), eighth in completion percentage (69.2) and ranks ninth nationally in points responsible per game (19.1 points per game/210 points).

Tagovailoa has only taken 477 snaps on the season as the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback in 2018, largely due to the average score of 32.5-6.2 in the first half (26.3 scoring margin). The 477 snaps is only 64.1 percent of Alabama’s 744 total plays on offense, which equates to about 7.05 games this season. Tagovailoa has only played in the fourth quarter once this year while starting only 21 drives past halftime in 11 games this season.

Tagovailoa has only played the equivalent 7.05 of the Crimson Tide’s 11 games so far this year. In that limited amount of time, Tagovailoa has thrown for 2,865 yards and 31 touchdowns, which multiplies out to 4,477 yards, 48 touchdowns on 256 completions, if he had played every snap as the Alabama quarterback. That is an average of 23 completions for 407 yards and 4.4 touchdowns per game.

“We’re pleased with the way Tua has played,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said Monday.

“I think that any player that you talk about, no one is perfect. I do think that Tua has sort of the mindset of trying to make every throw a good throw, make every read a good read. I think he hopes for that. I think he is a perfectionist to some degree. And I think players like that certainly close the gap on being able to perform well relative to the expectation of what we want them to do play in and play out. So, I think he’s become more consistent in that regard.

“So, he’s made a lot of good throws. He’s made a lot of explosive plays. I think it’s going to be important we continue to do that because we’re going to play against better defenses, and when we play against better defenses we need to be just as productive in terms of our ability to run the ball, have balance on offense and to make explosive plays.”

Tagovailoa currently sits at No. 1 in ESPN’s Heisman Watch with 48 points. Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray is No. 2 with 42 points, while Washington State’s Gardner Minshew is third (25), West Virginia’s Will Grier is fourth (15) and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor is fifth (7). Alabama’s star defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is eighth with three points as the only defensive player on the list.

The Heisman Trophy finalists will be announced Dec. 3, and the trophy will be awarded Dec. 8. 

Contact Charlie Potter by 247Sports’ personal messaging or on Twitter (@Charlie_Potter).

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