University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino and his staff continue their efforts in locating their top prospects for the Class of 2017 and among those to recently receive an offer from the Cardinals program is Honolulu (Hi.) St. Louis quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
The U of L offer isn't the first for the 6-foot-1, 215-pound four-star prospect. His total has climbed above a dozen, with Arizona, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nebraska, UCLA, USC, Utah and Washington also among those hoping to lure his services.
The increased interest from the Louisville coaching staff has made an impact in the recruiting process. Petrino's ability to develop players into future NFL prospects is something that the young quarterback is aware of.
"I know that he was he's been really excited about the Louisville offer," his father Galu Tagovailoa told Cardinal Authority. "He knows a lot about Louisville and the type of offense, especially Coach Petrino and how he has prepped a lot of his quarterbacks and a lot of his players to get to the next level."
While enjoying the attention from colleges across the country, Tagovailoa's current focus is on his classwork and the approaching finals.
"It's been crazy, the whole recruiting process," he said. "He enjoys it, but right now the priority for him is his school and the two years that he has left."
The family hopes to visit a number of schools during the summer months and during the upcoming season. Tagovailia, who has visited UCLA and USC, wants to experience a game atmosphere at Louisville.
"He wants to see a game there so he can see the environment," his father said, adding that the Cardinals ACC opener against Clemson on September 17 is a possibility.
"Hopefully we'll talk to one of their coaches about it sometime soon," he said. "We want to see one of their games. We've been talking about it and maybe the game against Clemson would be a good one for us to visit. It's an honor for us to have Louisville looking at him and offering. The history that Louisville brings and what they have done with that program is awesome. We're looking forward to visiting."
As a sophomore, Tagovailoa posted some incredible statistics, throwing for 2,583 yards and 33 touchdowns with only three interceptions. He also added another 576 yards and another eight scores on the ground. Those numbers have made it easy for many to compare him to an alum of his school - Marcus Mariota.
However, Tagovailoa's relationship with the Heisman Trophy quarterback has added fuel to the comparisons. The two first met at a football camp when Mariota was just a high school freshman and Tagovailoa in the fourth grade. Mariota, who was recently drafted by the Tennessee Titans as the overall number two selection, has tutored him on multiple occasions since.
"They are already comparing Tua to Marcus because of how Tua dominated as a freshman and sophomore," his father explained. "He's learned a lot from Marcus."
However, while there are similarities, Scout.com recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman also points out the differences.
"Get the comparisons to former St. Louis quarterback Marcus Mariota out of the way," Huffman said. "Tagovailoa is a lefty, a better pure passer and more experienced that Mariota was at the same stage and a different kind of quarterback. But like Mariota, Tagovailoa is a very good one."