COLLEGE PARK, Md. — All eyes are on Taulia Tagovailoa as he prepares for his third season as the University of Maryland's quarterback. The younger brother of Miami Dolphin's starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, Taulia is making a name for himself as the Terps' leading man.
There are a lot of high expectations for the Maryland offense, as the squad returns 8 of 11 starters, with Tagovailoa looking to build on a successful 2021 campaign. Last season, Tagovailoa had a record-breaking season, setting program single-season records in passing yards with 3,680, pass completions with 328, completion percentage with 69.2%, passing touchdowns with 26, and 300-yard passing games with seven.
Tagovailoa ranked top-25 in the FBS, and top three in the Big Ten Conference in every passing category.
"We did some good things with touchdowns, but I'm not really too familiar with the stats but I heard I have some records and stuff so that's pretty cool," said Tagovailoa about his historic season in 2021.
It's those statistics that have led Maryland head coach, Mike Locksley to call Tagovailoa one of the best quarterbacks in the country.
But Tagovailoa is humble, and won't say he's behind the offense's success.
"I'm not too sure. I'm not really good about talking about myself. The talent I have around me, the experience I have up front, the talented running backs we have, and I think putting all of that together, it just makes me better," said Tagovailoa.
While last season's success catapulted him into the spotlight, Tagovailoa says he still has room for improvement.
"[I need to fix] the turnovers, eliminate the penalties, just control the ball and move the ball downfield," said Tagovailoa.
"That position he plays, he has the ball every single play so there will be bad things, and so for us, it's how quickly he can get past that. That's for all of us as a team in general how we handle adversity and I've seen Taulia take the next step from an emotional maturity standpoint to where he gets it. He's got the mind of a coach and he plays like a player," explained Locksley.
Tagovailoa tells me he came to play at Maryland because of Coach Locksley.
"I came here because of Coach Locks and because of his vision. He builds me up and it gives me a lot of confidence, and it's like I want to play for that guy and I want to come through," said Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa believes he's matured since last season, and he's gaining confidence in his play.
"I feel good. It's my third year, and I'm comfortable. I can feel this brotherhood around me, so yes, I feel good. I'm just excited to show our hard work on the field, and start the season," said Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa also has some solid weapons in his wide receiving core. In his third year with the program, Tagovailoa has also developed strong chemistry with his wide receiving core. Rakim Jarrett, and Dontay Demus Jr. will be leading the way. Demus Jr. is expected to be back for Week 1 after tearing his ACL last season. Both Jarrett and Demus Jr. are homegrown talent, born and raised in the DMV, and both tell me they are eager to get to work this season.
The Maryland Terrapins open the season on Saturday, September 3rd at home against Buffalo.