'I just don't think he's that great of a player': Paul Finebaum thinks hype over Taulia Tagovailoa's transfer to Maryland was overblown
Maryland received some huge news over the weekend, when former Alabama and four-star quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa announced that he would be trading Tuscaloosa for College Park. Head coach Mike Locksley was able to land a big-time quarterback to lead his offense in the coming years.
For the Terrapins, which have struggled in the B1G since joining in 2014, landing a player of Tagovailoa’s caliber is a pretty significant accomplishment. But SEC radio host Paul Finebaum believes that some of the hype surrounding the former Crimson Tide quarterback was overblown.
“I don’t mean to beat up on Taulia, but I just think this whole thing with him is much ado about nothing,” Fiinebaum said on WJOX. “Just from a distance, I didn’t, like, go to his high school games on Friday nights. I saw some film. I just don’t think he’s that great of a player. If he starts at Maryland and leads them to an exciting 7-5 record, good for them. But I think the sweepstakes for him was far overdone.”
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Tagovailoa committed to Alabama as a member of the 2019 recruiting class, joining his brother and starting quarterback Tua in Tuscaloosa. But many thought that the younger Tagovailoa was a bit of an awkward fit with the Crimson Tide, making his decision to enter then NCAA transfer portal less surprising.
Still, Tagovailoa was a four-star prospect out of high school, ranked as the No. 5 pro-style quarterback and No. 180 overall player in the 2019 class. That’s a big deal for Maryland, which finished last season — Mike Locksley’s first — with a 3-9 record. The Terrapins also haven’t been to a bowl game since 2016 and have reached the postseason just twice since joining the B1G.
With the amount of talent Locksley has been able to recruit in his short time at Maryland, Tagovailoa will have some weapons to work with in College Park. Finebaum still doesn’t expect to see many great things out of the quarterback.
“He was a really-good high-school football player,” Finebaum said. “I think that’s what we’re going to saying about him for a long time. It was a bad decision [to go to Alabama]. It was a bad fit. I think that was proven. Because of his name, yeah, he’ll get a lot of attention. It’s not the first brother who has followed a brother to try to achieve greatness. In the Manning family, it worked out really well. In a lot of families, it doesn’t.”
Tagovailoa appeared in five games at Alabama during the 2019 season. He will have three years of eligibility remaining at Maryland, but must sit out the 2020 season due to NCAA transfer rules, unless he’s granted a waiver.