Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa granted eligibility for 2020 season

Maryland football head coach Mike Locksley observes his team during warmups before the Terps' 54-7 loss to Nebraska at Maryland Stadium on Nov. 23, 2019. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

Quarterback has been a position of weakness for much of Maryland football’s tenure in the Big Ten. Injuries, scheme fit and — more often than not — poor play have made the position particularly tenuous in recent years.

And with Josh Jackson deciding to opt out of the upcoming season due to coronavirus concerns, it seemed as if Maryland was headed for another season of uncertainty under center.

Things are clearer now, though. On Thursday, the NCAA granted Alabama transfer Taulia Tagovailoa immediate eligibility, per a release from the team.

[Seven players opt out of Maryland football’s season, including QB Josh Jackson]

A former four-star recruit, Tagovailoa racked up 100 yards on 9-of-12 passing in five appearances with the Crimson Tide last season.

Prior to his time in Tuscaloosa, though, Tagovailoa established himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Alabama high school history. The Ewa Beach, Hawaii, native threw for 3,728 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior, leading Thompson High School to a state championship in 2018.

The younger brother of Miami Dolphins quarterback — and former Maxwell Award winner — Tua, Tagovailoa will compete for the starting job with redshirt Lance LeGendre. The Terps’ only other scholarship quarterback, LeGendre tallied 111 all-purpose yards while appearing in three games last season. Behind Tagovailoa and LeGendre, Maryland has three walk-ons filling out the depth chart.

Maryland’s quarterback struggles have been well-documented for much of the Big Ten era — converted linebackers, injuries and interceptions, to name a few.

There’s no guarantee that Tagovailoa takes the mantle as starting quarterback when the Terps open at Iowa on Sept. 5, but his waiver gives coach Mike Locksley’s squad a platform to build upon for next campaign.

And for a program so ravaged by lackluster quarterback displays in recent years, that stability may add just what is needed.

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