TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa put an end to the initial question about his future, announcing Monday that he is entering the NFL draft and closing the book on a college career that began with a splash and ended with a devastating injury.

Now the questions will be about where he’ll be drafted not if he would turn pro.

Tagovailoa is recovering from right hip surgery in November following an injury on Nov. 16 against Mississippi State that ended projections of the starting quarterback being the potential No. 1 overall pick. The serious injury has made his draft status less clear though Alabama team surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain has said Tagovailoa’s prognosis is “excellent” and predicts a full recovery.

Tagovailoa said during a news conference that he’s optimistic he’ll be able to play next season, but said it’s hard to predict how high he’ll be drafted.

“It’s a unique situation, for sure,” Tagovailoa said with his parents and little brother, Taulia, watching from the front row. “A lot of the guys, the general managers, the owners, that I’ve talked to kind of said the same thing. They kind of look at this injury like a knee injury almost, although it’s not. In a way that, OK, are we going to take a chance on this guy or will he be able to possibly do a pro day before the draft and what-not?

“Really, the biggest thing they want to do is just see that we can move and we can just be back to how we were playing prior to the injury.”


This year’s draft class of quarterbacks includes LSU Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and Oregon’s Justin Herbert. If Tagovailoa had returned to Alabama and looked like his old self, there was still no guarantee he would be the top pick in a 2021 draft that will likely include Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.

Tagovailoa, the 2018 Heisman Trophy runner-up, helped Alabama navigate the transition into one of the nation’s top passing offenses. In less than two seasons as starter, he set an Alabama record with 87 career touchdown passes and ranks third with 7,442 passing yards.

VIRGINIA TECH: Running back Deshawn McClease says he’s leaving school early to enter the NFL draft.

MISSISSIPPI STATE: Linebacker Willie Gay Jr. says he’s bypassing his senior season to enter the NFL draft.


(10) TEXAS A&M 79, MISSISSIPPI 35: Ciera Johnson scored 17 points and N’dea Jones grabbed 13 rebounds as the Aggies (14-1, 2-0 SEC) cruised to a victory over the Rebels (7-8, 0-2) in College Station, Texas.


(12) INDIANA 83, ILLINOIS 42: Ali Patberg scored 19 points, Gorham High graduate Mackenzie Holmes had 16 points and eight rebounds, and the Hoosiers (13-2, 3-0 Big Ten) beat the Illini (9-5, 0-3) in Bloomington, Indiana.

(17) MARYLAND 72, OHIO STATE 62: Kaila Charles had 28 points, seven rebounds and four steals to help the Terrapins (11-3, 2-1 Big Ten) beat the Buckeyes (8-6, 1-2) in College Park, Maryland.

AP TOP 25: UConn cruised to two more conference wins and remained No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll to start off 2020.

The Huskies received 19 first-place votes from a 30-member media panel to stay ahead of second-ranked Oregon.

The Ducks got seven first-place votes, picking up two from Oregon State, which got three. The Beavers stayed No. 3 and were followed again by South Carolina, Stanford and Baylor.


DUKE: Freshman forward Wendell Moore Jr. is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a broken bone in his right hand.

Moore was hurt with about 4:40 left in Saturday’s 95-62 win at Miami. He lost the ball on a turnover and reached for a steal, then immediately grabbed his right hand. He stayed in the game for another possession before exiting with 4:11 left and immediately having his hand examined on the bench.

AP TOP 25: Gonzaga, Duke and Kansas remain atop The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll.

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