Tuesday night, former Alabama quarterback and current Miami Dolphins star Tua Tagovailoa held the inaugural “Luau with Tua” event in “The Zone” in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Crimson Tide fans, with leis around their necks, enjoyed a night of Polynesian food and traditional Hawaiian dancing. The main event, however, was the fundraiser for several charities around the state. The Tua Foundation raised over $45,000 for the Tallapoosa County’s Girls Ranch funeral.

“It feels really good to be back here,” Tagovailoa said about his return to Bryant-Denny Stadium. “A lot of memories were made here. I wouldn’t be where I am without the things that happened on that field.”

Alabama fans were delighted to see a familiar face as the Master of Ceremonies - former Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson.

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When the second-year Dolphins quarterback wasn’t performing a dance for the Luau-goers or talking to young fans, he got a chance to talk to the media about the reason that he held the event.

“I’m just really glad to be back, and I am excited to help give back to the community...I’m glad my family gets to be here to support this event with me.”

And support the community he did. Not only did some of the money raised go to Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s charity, “Nick’s Kids” and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of West Alabama, but Tagovailoa also helped raise money to help pay for the funeral of the victims in the Tallapoosa County Girl’s Ranch car accident that occurred earlier this month. He even mentioned that he would match the money for said funeral.

Still, as is common in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the conversation turned to football. When asked about his former backup-turned-starter Mac Jones, Tagovailoa spoke on the new divisional rivalry between Jones’ Patriots and his Dolphins.

“I never got the opportunity to talk to Mac [since he got drafted]. I have been busy with our team, and I know he has been busy competing with the guys in New England. If he ever wants to talk, I’m here.”

Jones won’t be the only familiar face in the AFC East. Jaylen Waddle, one of Miami’s 2021 NFL Draft picks will be rejoining Tagovailoa, who is thrilled to see him again.

“It’s always exciting when you get to reunite with a former teammate...I’m really excited to have the group of guys that we have this year.”

Continuing with the conversation about Tua’s time in the NFL, reporters asked him about his development going into his second year.

“I think of it like my freshman year here at Alabama. My sophomore year, I wish that I knew the things I knew my freshman year. It’s sort of the same type of transition for me in the pros...I think that’s just the learning curve.”

The elephant in the room, and no I’m not talking about Big Al, was soon brought up to the former Alabama quarterback - the upcoming Name, Image, and Likeness bills that will go into effect on Thursday, July 1. Surprisingly, Tagovailoa stayed relatively tight-lipped about the subject.

“Well, personally, it is what it is. That’s what I’ll say,” Tagovailoa said. “Whether they do it or they don’t, it is what it is.”

As expected, the topic of Bryce Young, Alabama’s newest quarterback, was mentioned to the veteran.

“I did get to see a little bit of the [A-Day] game. I think he’s doing pretty good. It’s hard to tell, because this is his first year taking over. Just stay calm, do what you did in high school, and you’ll be fine.”

When asked about whether Tua thought that he and Bryce played similarly, Tua denied it.

“I don’t really see any similarities between my game and his game. I think he is really instinctive...He has a really good arm and he is really talented.”

For the full video of the interview, click here.

The Luau with Tua is Tagovailoa's and the Tua Foundation’s first fundraiser, but due to the success of the fundraiser, it is quite possible Tuscaloosa might see another event from the alumni. For more on Tagovailoa, his charity, and his NFL career, stay tuned in to TIDE1009.com.

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