Auburn football was accused of being the SEC school that offered Taulia Tagovailoa $1.5 million to transfer from Maryland on social media — with Tuscaloosa-based radio host Ryan C. Fowler being one of the most prominent analysts openly pondering if it was AU that made such an offer.
There’s uncertainty about who’s starting at quarterback for the Tigers in 2023, with Robby Ashford favored to be QB1 at the start of last week before the odds shifted to incoming Michigan State transfer Payton Thorne. It’s at least plausible that Hugh Freeze took a look at Tagovailoa, but the first-year Auburn football head coach specifically was stingy with promises to start to everyone in the portal; hence the fact that Thorne wasn’t even favored to start until bettors swung the odds with myriad action.
Tagovailoa told The Athletic’s Audrey Snyder (subscription required) that he wouldn’t be able to take money from a school other than Maryland and be happy.
“It would be hard for me to go to another place and not be happy but have all the money in the world,” Tagovailoa prefaced before saying, “(I’d rather) be at a place where maybe I don’t have as much, but I’m happy and I’m here to work.”
Taulia followed his older brother Tua Tagovailoa to Alabama but left Tuscaloosa quickly for College Park and hasn’t looked back. As the younger Tagovailoa admitted, he’d likely have considered a $1.5 million transfer offer if he was in a different situation.
“It can be eye-opening, but I think for my situation — if I was in a different situation where maybe I didn’t have a brother in the NFL or maybe my parents, it’d be a different situation,” Tagovailoa said.
Auburn football is not the likeliest suspect to have offered Taulia Tagovailoa $1.5 million
While Freeze and Nick Saban both needed a quarterback earlier on in the offseason, it isn’t likely that either SEC school Alabama was willing to hand a pro-sports-esque contract to Tagovailoa. Roll Tide Wire’s AJ Spurr had a great theory for who it could’ve been instead.
“Everyone is saying Auburn or Alabama… but Texas A&M would be the least surprising school,” Spurr tweeted.
A school with boosters sporting endless pockets, a fanbase dying to compete with rivals Texas entering the SEC in 2024, and increasing pressure to justify Jimbo Fisher’s 10-year, $94.95 million contract extension? Yup, TAMU checks out as the most likely possibility.