Tagovailoa Follows in Hometown Mentor’s Footsteps

Tua Tagovailoa

Getty Tua Tagovailoa celebrates after defeating Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

On Tuesday afternoon, just days after making his grand arrival in Miami ahead of his rookie season, Tua Tagovailoa has announced one of his first big projects in giving back to his hometown. The Heisman-winning quarterback has established the Tagovailoa Family Saint Louis Hawaii Scholarship Endowment to his high school.

In addition to the $300,000 scholarship endowment to the school, four scholarships will be given to local Hawaii kids over the next four years. The scholarships will be named after each of his four grandparents: Seumaninoa Tagovailoa, Taulia Fa’avi, Leaniva Tagovailoa and Pa’iau Fa’avi.

“My hope is that these scholarships will give deserving Hawaii students the same opportunities Saint Louis School gave me,” Tagovailoa said in the announcement. “It is a blessing to honor my family and high school through this gift.”

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That Hawai’i Pride

Tagovailoa graduated early from the Saint Louis School in Honolulu, and relocated with his family to Alabama after signing with the Crimson Tide. Tagovailoa comes from a Samoan family, and is the oldest of four children (his younger brother, Taulia, backed him up in 2019 before transferring to the University of Maryland). He was selected fifth overall in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins.

A four-star recruit, Tagovailoa was ranked the top high school prospect, and had 17 offers for college football scholarships. While in high school, he was mentored by fellow Saint Louis School alum Marcus Mariota.

Mariota was rated the second-highest recruiting prospect out of Saint Louis School, and was recruited to 10 schools, but only offered scholarships to Oregon and Memphis. To the Ducks he went, where he shined brightly. His performance at Oregon amounted in multiple awards, including the Heisman Trophy, and he was selected second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans.

Now, Tagovailoa follows further in Mariota’s footsteps. Mariota’s Motiv8 Foundation
was established to give back to his Hawaii community. Most recently, the foundation partnered with First Hawaiian Bank to make a $25,000 donation to the Institute for Human Services, which assists Hawaii’s homeless population.

New Job, New Opportunities

Tua’s recent arrival in Miami is bound to put to rest the many rumors about his injury rehab over the past several months. But no matter how quickly he sees the field, his fresh opportunity to become the next face of Miami sports opens a wealth of chances to give back to his community.

“It’s in my heart to give back to the communities that have raised me,” Tagovailoa wrote in a Tweet announcing his official signing with the team. “Plans are underway to start charitable outreach efforts in Hawaii, Alabama and Miami. Stay tuned, stay safe. Go fins! Blessed!”

As his work with the Dolphins goes underway, more can be expected of the quarterback in the future, both on and off the field. If his mentor Mariota is any indication, young Tagovailoa has plenty of humility to share with the world.

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