Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • April 13, 2021
Tua Tagovailoa Boosts Total Of Hawaii Players Starting In The NFL To Seven

It’s an amazing time for Hawaii football and especially for a young man out of Ewa Beach.

Tua Tagovailoa will get his first NFL start for the Miami Dolphins (3-3) on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams (5-2). Game time in Hawaii is 8 a.m. on KHON-TV (Fox).

Tagovailoa grew up playing for Ewa Beach Pop Warner and then the Saint Louis Crusaders before starring for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He got into his first real NFL game two weeks ago, in NFL Week 6, and went 2-for-2 for 9 yards as Ryan Fitzpatrick’s backup.

His first NFL start will be “one of the most anticipated moments of Week 8,” wrote ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe.

Fitzpatrick’s stats so far this season — four touchdown passes and five interceptions — have been underwhelming.

The drafting of Tagovailoa at No. 5 overall in April has made the Hawaii kid the most talked about Dolphins quarterback since Dan Marino, who threw for more than 61,000 yards in his Hall of Fame career from 1983 to 1999.

Tagovailoa is one of seven players with Hawaii ties who are starting in the NFL. There are five others playing backup roles, three more on practice squads, and one who is on a roster but opted out for the season due to COVID-19. See the list of the 16 players below, followed by each player’s 2020 stats so far.

Editor’s note: Email Nick Abramo at nickabramo7@gmail.com for any players with Hawaii ties missing on the list below.

HAWAII’S 7 NFL STARTERS

HOUSTON TEXANS

Kaimi Fairbairn
>> Kicker, jersey No. 7
>> Punahou Buffanblu
>> UCLA Bruins
>> 6-0, 183 (fifth season)

———————————————–

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

DeForest Buckner
>> Defensive tackle, jersey No. 99
>> Punahou Buffanblu
>> Oregon Ducks
>> 6-7, 295 (fifth season)

———————————————–

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Kamelei Correa
>> Linebacker, jersey No. 55
>> Saint Louis Crusaders
>> Boise State Broncos
>> 6-3, 241 (fifth season)

———————————————–

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Kamu Grugier-Hill
>> Linebacker, jersey No. 51
>> Kamehameha Warriors
>> Eastern Illinois Panthers
>> 6-2, 223 (fifth season)

——

Tua Tagovailoa
>> Quarterback, jersey No. 1
>> Saint Louis Crusaders
>> Alabama Crimson Tide
>> 6-0, 217 (first season)

———————————————–

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Nate Herbig
>> Guard, jersey No. 6
>> Saint Louis Crusaders
>> Stanford Cardinal
>> 6-4, 334 (second season)

———————————————–

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Tyson Alualu
>> Defensive end, jersey No. 94
>> Saint Louis Crusaders
>> Cal Bears
>> 6-3, 304 (11th season)

HAWAII’S 5 NFL BACKUPS

DALLAS COWBOYS

Bradlee Anae
>> Defensive end, jersey No. 56
>> Kahuku Red Raiders
>> Utah Utes
>> 6-3, 257 (first season)

———————————————–

DENVER BRONCOS

Netane Muti
>> Guard, jersey No. 52
>> Leilehua Mules
>> Fresno State Bulldogs
>> 6-3, 315 (first season)

———————————————–

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Marcus Kemp
>> Wide receiver, jersey No. 19
>> Layton Lancers (Utah)
>> Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
>> 6-4, 210 (third season)

———————————————–

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Marcus Mariota
>> Quarterback, jersey No. 8
>> Saint Louis Crusaders
>> Oregon Ducks
>> 6-4, 222 (sixth season)

———————————————–

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Alohi Gilman
>> Safety, jersey No. 32
>> Kahuku Red Raiders
>> Notre Dame Fighting Irish
>> 5-10, 201 (first season)

HAWAII’S 3 ON NFL PRACTICE SQUADS

CHICAGO BEARS

Manti Te’o
>> Linebacker, jersey No. 49
>> Punahou Buffanblu
>> Notre Dame Fighting Irish
>> 6-1, 241 (seventh season)

———————————————–

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Hercules Mata’afa
>> Defensive tackle, jersey No. 51
>> Lahainaluna Lunas
>> Washington State Cougars
>> 6-2, 254 (third season)

———————————————–

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

John Ursua
>> Wide receiver, jersey No. 15
>> Kealakehe Waveriders
>> Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
>> 5-9, 182 (second season)

HAWAII’S 1 ON NFL RESERVE/OPT OUT ROSTER

NEW YORK JETS

Leo Koloamatangi
>> Offensive line, jersey No. 63
>> Sacred Hearts Prep Raiders (California)
>> Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
>> 6-4, 310 (second season)

———————————————————————————————-

NFL PLAYERS With HAwaii Ties
2020 Season Stats

>> Alualu (Steelers): 16 tackles, 1 sack, 3 pass breakups
>> Anae (Cowboys): 1 game, 1 quarterback hurry
>> Buckner (Colts): 6 games, 28 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 safety
>> Correa (Jaguars): 2 games, 3 tackles, 1 pass breakup
>> Fairbairn (Texans): 12-for-14 on FGs, long of 50; 16-for-17 on XPs
>> Gilman (Chargers): 5 games, 2 tackles
>> Grugier-Hill (Dolphins): 18 tackles, 1 sack
>> Herbig (Eagles): 7 games as a starter at guard
>> Kemp (Chiefs): 1 catch for 11 yards
>> Mariota (Raiders): No games played so far
>> Mata’afa (Vikings): 3 games, 1 tackle
>> Muti (Broncos): No games played so far
>> Tagovailoa (Dolphins): 2-for-2, 9 yards passing
>> Te’o (Bears): No games played so far
>> Ursua (Seahawks): No games played so far

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