Tuanigamanuolepola "Tua" Tagovailoa (TOO-ah TAH-goh-vai-LOH-ah) (born March 2, 1998) is an American football quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He was born and raised in Hawaii.
Tagovailoa, the oldest of five children in a Samoan family, grew up with an intense interest in football. In a 2015 story in Sports Illustrated, his parents recalled that he slept with a football under his arm as a small child. During Pop Warner games when he was age 8, when his peers could typically throw a football little more than 10 yards, he routinely threw passes more than 30 yards. He was slow to grow into his body, but according to his high school coaches, "his Samoan genes finally kicked in" at about age 12.
His main inspiration during his youth was his grandfather Seu, who was respected enough in the local Samoan community that he was regularly addressed as "Chief Tagovailoa". Seu believed that Tua would eventually grow into a football star, and he requested that Tua visit him after every game to give him a report, no matter the time of day, with Tua once visiting at 3:00 am. Tua was also pushed by his father Galu, a former junior-college player who returned to Hawaii to help support the family. In an interview with ESPN, Tua admitted that his father would beat him with a belt every time he threw an interception. Tua faced a crisis in the summer of 2014 when his grandfather unexpectedly died, and briefly considered quitting football until he and his father agreed that Tua could best honor Seu by continuing to play.