In another attempt to differentiate between his top two choices, Tua Tagovailoa stopped by USC and UCLA this weekend. The four-star quarterback from Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis recently pegged the Trojans as the leaders for his commitment, and another visit to campus certainly didn’t hurt their chances for the strong-armed lefty.
In fact, Tagovailoa told Scout.com he now has a clearer outlook on what he wants to do and, rather than wait after taking some official visits, intends to announce a college decision by the end of the summer.
“The USC visit was really good again,” Tagovailoa said. “I got to meet coach Tyson (Helton) in person and got to sit down with a lot of the new members of the coaching staff. Nothing has really changed. They are the same people I’ve been in contact with for a while and it’s a great place.”
Tyson Helton, the brother of USC head coach Clay Helton, comes highly recommended to the Tagovailoa family through June Jones, the offensive coordinator for Tua’s younger brother at Kapolei High School. Tyson Helton coached under Jones at Hawaii for four years in the early 2000s.
“They sat me down and we watched film,” Tagovailoa said. “They wanted to see how I would do as far as reacting in my progressions and what I would look at. They gave me route concepts and it was a good breakdown.”
At UCLA, Tagovailoa met with new quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo, who previously recruited him at USC, and head coach Jim Mora.
“I got to sit down with coach Mora again as well and he really told me how they would use me,” Tagovailoa said. “He explained how he would coach us up and how his son just went through the recruiting process, and how he would want the same thing for his son. It feels like family over there, too.
“They are both great schools and it’s just a tough decision. I’m just going to have to choose one. That time for my decision will come and, for now, I’m trying to enjoy the process.”
Tagovailoa hopes to visit Washington at some point in the coming months as well, but it’s clear that it’s a battle between the Los Angeles schools. Tagovailoa said Tyson Helton told him he would head out to Hawaii during the spring evaluation period to see him throw.
“I’m looking at making my decision before the season,” Tagovailoa said. “Maybe in June or July. I really talked to my parents and we were going through decisions. I feel that a commitment would not end the recruiting, I guess, but it would satisfy what I would want out of the process.
“Really, I’m going to look at receivers, linemen and the defense. We would need a good defense to get back on the field. You need guys to throw to, guys to run the ball and guys around you that can get you back on offense.”
Tagovailoa, the No. 3-rated quarterback in the West for the 2017 class according to the Scout rankings, passed for 2,916 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior last season. He also rushed for 11 scores.