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Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa immediately eligible for 2020 season after receiving waiver from NCAA

The NCAA has approved Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa’s transfer waiver and he will be immediately eligible to play in the 2020 season, the team announced Friday.

The news comes as Maryland opens preseason practice and after head coach Mike Locskley’s announcement Friday morning that quarterback Josh Jackson has opted out of the season because of coronavirus concerns.

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Taulia, the brother of former Alabama star and Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, announced in May that he was transferring from Alabama to join the Terps.

Tagovailoa, a sophomore, is likely to compete for the starting quarterback job against redshirt freshman Lance LeGendre, the team’s only other scholarship quarterback. Tagovailoa has been with the team since June and will practice during the first day of preseason camp.

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“He has the infectious personality [where] players gravitate to him,” Locksley said. “He came in with the right mentality that, ‘I’m nobody different, I’m here just to be a member of this team.’ ... He’s made the quarterback room better.”

Tagovailoa appeared in just five games last season, completing nine of 12 passes for 100 yards and one touchdown, but he is a former four-star recruit from the 2019 recruiting class.

“Taulia has tremendous hands in the [run-pass option] world and great vision, great leadership ability,” offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery said. “[He] can really throw the football on the intermediate level, down the field. [I’m] really, really pleased with where he is physically, but probably the most pleasing thing of it all, I’m thankful that he knew our system.

“But we have tweaked our system a lot. But he has picked up the playbook as fast as anyone that we’ve had in the program. He has more knowledge right now than our guys did last year coming in, even with [spring football] under their belt.”

LeGendre, a former four-star recruit from the 2019 recruiting class, appeared in three games last season, completing one of three passes for seven yards. The Louisiana native also rushed for 104 yards on 13 carries.

“He’s chiseled right now, in great physical condition,” Montgomery said of LeGendre, “and he really took advantage of his time off and his time back in the building. But mentally is where I think that he’s worked as hard as he could. We worked on his fundamentals, we’ve worked on other things that coaches can help.

“But what I’m really proud about Lance right now is the fact that he’s worked on the things that you do when no one’s looking. Being in his playbook, understanding all the fundamentals of his position. But mostly understanding our offense and how it works and how he can be utilized in the offense, which gives us some more flexibility, with the ability to run, throw, understand our scheme at the line of scrimmage to get us in the best football play.”

ESPN first reported the news of Tagovailoa’s waiver approval.

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