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Terps

‘I’m not done yet’: Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa will return for senior season, boosting Terps’ hopes for 2023

Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) in action during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Ohio State, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in College Park. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa announced Wednesday that he will return to Maryland for his redshirt senior season, giving the Terps another year with one of the most productive players in school history.

Tagovailoa’s decision comes a few weeks after leading the Terps past NC State in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, capping off a strong 2022 season during which he threw for 3,008 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions while becoming the first Maryland quarterback to be named second-team All-Big Ten Conference.

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“My goal when coming to Maryland was to help coach [Mike] Locksley turn this program around,” Tagovailoa said in a release. “After winning back-to-back bowl games, I believe we have things going in the right direction. But we’re not done yet. I’m not done yet.”

Tagovailoa has solidified himself as one of the best quarterbacks in program history. The Hawaii native is the program’s all-time record-holder in completions (665), passing yards (7,879), completion percentage (.674), total offensive yards (8,067), passing touchdowns (51) and total touchdowns (59).

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Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa’s return is a major boost for a Maryland team that wants to build off its first eight-win season since 2010.

A transfer from Alabama who was granted a fifth year of eligibility because of the coronavirus pandemic, Tagovailoa is also the first Maryland quarterback to have two seasons of 3,000 or more passing yards after throwing for 3,860 yards in 2021, which was the sixth-most in Big Ten history.

Despite battling a knee injury that forced him to miss a win over Northwestern and sitting out the opening drive of the Duke’s Mayo Bowl victory, Tagovailoa has been a consistent presence at a position the program has long struggled to fill. He’s missed just two games since arriving in 2020 from Alabama, where he played under Locksley and current offensive coordinator Dan Enos alongside his older brother Tua, now the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.

“The next step for us is to start competing for Big Ten championships,” Locksley said after Maryland won back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 2003. “There’s some people that will laugh at us, but if you take a Terp for granted, I promise we will make you pay.”

Tagovailoa’s return is a major boost for a Maryland team that wants to build off its first eight-win season since 2010. The three-year starter will give the Terps an established starting quarterback mixed with a strong running back group, featuring redshirt freshmen Roman Hemby and Antwain Littleton II, as well as sophomore tight end Corey Dyches, wide receivers Tai Felton, Octavian Smith Jr. and transfers Tyrese Chambers (Florida International) and Kaden Prather (West Virginia).

Standout wide receivers Dontay Demus Jr., Rakim Jarrett and Jacob Copeland have declared for the NFL draft, while Jeshaun Jones, the Terps’ leading receiver in 2022, has not announced if he will return for another season. Tight end CJ Dippre, who had 30 catches for 314 yards and three touchdowns in a breakout sophomore season, also transferred to Alabama.

Tagovailoa will have an opportunity to climb up the Big Ten record books. He is ranked 41st in league history in career touchdown passes, 32nd in passing yards and is tied for 26th in completions.


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