football Edit

Fact or Fiction: Blame Nick Saban for Tua Tagovailoa's injury

National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.

MORE FACT OR FICTION: Tom Herman has Texas going backward | Alabama is done without Tagovailoa

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1. Nick Saban is responsible for Tua Tagovailoa's injury.

Farrell's take: FICTION. As much as people want to blame someone when a horrible sports tragedy occurs, and this could be one, it's not Saban's fault. Yes, Tagovailoa didn't practice during the week and apparently didn't look great during the walk-through and Saban still pushed forward and started him in a clearly winnable game. And yes, Saban kept him in even after it was 35-7 and the game was clearly in hand.

But no one, not even the greatest coach in college football history, could foresee such a rare and serious injury for the talented quarterback. I would have had Tagovailoa out of the game at 28-7 as I tweeted during the game, but Saban clearly wanted to give him the half and this is just an awful situation. Saban will be scrutinized as the NFL Draft gets closer if Tua falls, but right now there's no need to point a finger.

Gorney’s take: FICTION. It’s ridiculous for some people to come out and say Saban owns any responsibility for Tagovailoa’s injury, especially since the new injury had nothing to do with his ankle issues. The Alabama doctors cleared him, Tagovailoa wanted to play and it was just an unfortunate circumstance that put him out for the rest of the season. Alabama could have beaten Mississippi State handily without Tagovailoa, so it’s curious that he was playing, but there’s no way Saban should be held accountable at all for this.


2. Tua will still be a first-round pick.

Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa (AP Images)

Farrell's take: FICTION. I don't see how he will recover in time or even at all to be a first-round pick. This is considered a very serious injury and some say it could be career threatening and the NFL teams will do their due diligence and likely not want to take a gamble in the first round on a quarterback who had injury questions before this horrible, season-ending broken hip. There are some out there that think the potential No. 1 pick in the draft will bounce back and still be drafted in the first round, but I can't see that happening.

Gorney’s take: FACT. This is going to be one of the most interesting debates around the NFL Draft in years and Tagovailoa is going to be poked and prodded like a pin cushion, but I still believe an NFL team is going to take a tremendous chance and draft him in the first round. He has way too much upside and if he rehabs the right way then his career over the long term should be just fine. I’m not sure he will go in the top five any longer, but that could actually be good for Tagovailoa, who can go to a team that doesn’t need him immediately and he can rehab and get back into game shape without rushing it.

  3. Sean Clifford's death threats will hurt Penn State recruiting.  

Sean Clifford
Sean Clifford (AP Images)

Farrell's take: FICTION. This happens at many places, I'm sure, so Penn State shouldn't be singled out. It's horrible that fans take things so seriously that a good player like Clifford has to delete his Twitter account because of death threats from "fans" and other nasty things, but this is the society we live in. Abuse is normal on Twitter for those with a following, even from those who consider themselves fans. Will a potential recruit look at this story and say they're not going to Penn State because of it? Nope. I don't see that happening at all. The majority of the Penn State fans, I would say 99 percent of them, would never do such a thing and are true fans. The rest can pound sand.

Gorney’s take: FICTION. Any loser that would send Clifford death threats should be taken seriously and arrested, but should not be taken seriously by Clifford or any recruit out there. Those people are despicable and sad, but thankfully elite prospects should know that Penn State football is a whole lot more than those cretins, and I don’t think recruiting will be negatively affected at all. Penn State fans were brutal to Sam Ficken for missing some kicks and it didn’t matter when going after top recruits. This won’t, either. Getting blown out by Ohio State might, though.