Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa entered the transfer portal Friday afternoon, 247Sports reports. The Big Ten's all-time leading passer should have a long list of suitors, but there is a hitch -- the NCAA would need to grant Tagovailoa a waiver to allow him a sixth season of eligibility. Tagovailoa has filed for a re-instatement waiver, ESPN reports

Tagovailoa's case hinges around his true freshman season at Alabama. Players are limited to just four games to preserve redshirt eligibility and Tagovailoa played in five as the third-string quarterback. He had just two snaps apiece in two of those appearances, though, and only logged stats in three games. According to ESPN, Tagovailoa argues that he entered Alabama's 2019 regular season finale against Mississippi State -- his fifth appearance -- and played two snaps as a way to honor his older brother, Tua, who suffered a hip injury. 

"I'd humbly ask them to consider that the plan for 2019 was always for me to redshirt," Tagovailoa told ESPN. "In an emotional decision where my brother had suffered a devastating injury, I went into my fifth game to honor him. In that game, I only played two snaps at the end of the game, where I didn't even record a stat. In another game, I only played one snap before kneeling for the final play. These are two games my freshman year where I played only two snaps in each game. Please don't let those four snaps prevent me from playing another year of college football while beginning coursework for my master's degree.

"Honestly, if I could do it again, hopefully my brother doesn't get injured and I'm not in that emotional state where I want to play in the game. If I got to do it over again, I wouldn't have played in the game. Coach asked me if I wanted to go in. Of course I wanted to go in and play for my brother. And that's what happened."   

Tagovailoa signed with Alabama in 2019 and transferred to Maryland in 2020, playing in four games in his first season with the Terrapins. He used his extra year of eligibility -- handed down by the NCAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- during the 2023 season, which means he's been in college for five years with four seasons of eligibility utilized. 

Tagovailoa emerged as Maryland's starter from the moment he stepped foot on campus. In four seasons with the Terrapins, he completed 955 passes for 11,256 yards and 76 touchdowns -- all three of which are Maryland program records. He also holds Maryland's record for career completion percentage (67.1%) and in 2021 set single-season records with 328 completions for 3,860 yards passing and 26 total touchdowns.

An obvious suitor emerges

If Tagovailoa is granted that extra year, one school would be an obvious choice for his services. Miami, which lost starter Tyler Van Dyke to the transfer portal, has been very active in its search for a new quarterback on the transfer market. 

The Hurricanes clearly want a veteran so younger options like Emory Williams -- who actually started a game in 2023 as a true freshman before suffering a devastating arm injury -- can have another year of development before the coaching staff leans on them. Miami was interested in Washington State transfer Cam Ward before he declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, and reportedly had conversations with Arkansas transfer KJ Jefferson prior to his commitment to UCF. 

Obviously, Tagovailoa would have, at most, one year remaining. The Miami connections are crystal clear. Tua Tagovailoa was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and has since served as the team's starting quarterback. The Dolphins even share Hard Rock Stadium with the Hurricanes, so the Tagovailoa family wouldn't have to put much effort into attending games at all.