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Who is Tua Tagovailoa? 5 things to know about Alabama’s freshman QB

Tua Tagovailoa, the University of Alabama's heralded five-star quarterback from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, threw the winning 41-yard touchdown in overtime early Tuesday to give Alabama its fifth national championship in nine years.

>> Alabama beats Georgia to win College Football Playoff National Championship

Below are five things to know about Tagovailoa:

>> Previously on SECCountry.com: Highly touted freshman QB Tua Tagovailoa makes debut for Alabama

1. Tua Tagovailoa is Hawaii’s all-time leading passer

The nation’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2017 became Hawaii’s career leader in passing yards, as he eclipsed former Saint Louis High School (Honolulu) quarterback Timmy Chang’s record of 8,001 yards. Tagovailoa left Hawaii with 8,158 passing yards and 84 touchdowns along with 1,727 rushing yards and 27 scores to give him 111 career touchdowns.

>> PHOTOS: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Tagovailoa willed the Saint Louis Crusaders to a 30-14 win in the state championship game against Kahuku, the No. 1 team in the state, at Aloha Stadium in his final game of high school.

>> On SECCountry.com: Watch highlights of Tagovailoa’s performance and celebration in his final high school game

2. He won the prestigious Elite 11 MVP

Tagovailoa was named the Elite 11 MVP, which is one of the most prestigious awards a prep quarterback can receive, in the summer of 2016. Tagovailoa became the second Alabama quarterback to win the award, as former Tide signal-caller Blake Barnett won in 2014.

>> Visit AJC.com for complete coverage of the national championship game

3. USC was his dream school growing up 

USC was Tagovailoa’s leader to get his commitment for more than a year before Alabama came calling. USC was the school Tagovailoa saw himself attending.

That changed when his family made a southern swing where he saw Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss. He fell in love with Alabama. After that visit in the spring of 2016, the Crimson Tide became the behind-the-scenes favorite until he committed in May 2016.

>> More coverage from DawgNation.com

4. He’s roommates with Najee Harris

Tagovailoa and Najee Harris, a Class of 2017 five-star running back out of Antioch (Calif.) High School, developed a strong bond when they were recruits. The friendship really took off when both were at Nike’s The Opening camp in Oregon, which is where Tagovailoa was given the Elite 11 MVP.

“He’s an awesome guy — a great guy,” Harris told SEC Country in July 2016. “I went to his room to go over some plays, and we ended up talking about God. He’s just a great person. I have much respect to Tua.”

Both Tagovailoa and Harris are deeply committed to their faith.

>> Visit WSBTV.com for more Georgia Bulldogs news

5. His brother, Taulia, is a Class of 2019 Alabama QB target

Tagovailoa isn’t the only impressive football player in the family. His brother, Taulia, is rated as the nation’s No. 8 dual-threat quarterback in the 2019 class. He already holds an Alabama offer.

Taulia wanted to commit to Alabama when he received an offer from the Tide in July 2016, but his parents told him that he was too young to make a big decision like that. But that hasn’t stopped Taulia from thinking about Alabama nonstop. When asked if he still wanted to play for the Tide, Taulia responded immediately.

>> Read more trending news 

“Oh, heck yeah,” Taulia told SEC Country. “When Tua went up there, he didn’t want to come back home. He came back and was telling me all of these crazy things like how he got to meet Coach [Nick] Saban. I have only seen that guy in movies it seems like, and for me to see him taking pictures with Mom, Dad and Tua, it was just crazy.”

FBI: Don't fly drones in downtown Atlanta through championship game day

As the country turns its eyes to Atlanta for the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, the FBI is pushing one important message: Keep those drones away.

>> Visit AJC.com for complete coverage of the national championship game

Any aircraft, drones included, are prohibited from flying near the venues used during the championship weekend and game day, including Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Centennial Olympic Park and the Georgia World Congress Center.

>> More coverage from DawgNation.com

Violators would face prosecution under federal law for “flying drones in restricted space,” FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson said Sunday. “Temporary flight restrictions” are in effect.

>> Visit WSBTV.com for more Georgia Bulldogs news

>> Best of the best: The history of college football’s national championship game

Despite previous publicity about the law, officials spotted drones over some venues on Saturday, Rowson said.

>> Read more trending news 

President Donald Trump is expected to attend the game, leading to an increase in security, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms promised a "safe, smooth and secure" event for the more than 100,000 attendees, and police urged people to leave any firearms at home.

O.J. Simpson roots for Bills in Las Vegas

Former running back O.J. Simpson was spotted in Las Vegas on Sunday, rooting for the Buffalo Bills in the NFL playoffs, The New York Daily News reported.

>> Read more trending news

Simpson, who spent nine of his 11 NFL seasons in Buffalo, made an appearance at Naked City Pizza in Las Vegas, the city where he now resides, to show support for his former team, the Daily News reported.

Simpson, who was released on parole in October, was seen hanging out with Bills fans Sunday to root for the team he spent nine of his 11 NFL seasons with. An Instagram post showed him smiling and rooting with Bills fans.

Watch: Bill Cowher breaks table in two to honor Bills Mafia

Nobody has ever questioned the toughness of former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, but the former NFL linebacker went old school pro wrestling Sunday.

>> Read more trending news

On Sunday’s “The NFL Today” pregame show before Sunday’s wild-card game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars, Cowher was favoring the craziness of the fan-based Bills Mafia as he crashed through a long table while yelling “Buff-a-lo,” splitting the furniture in two with a two-handed spike.

Mind you, Cowher has a way to go before he can stack up with some of the WWE’s finest table smashers. But it’s a start.

Jon Gruden returning to Oakland to coach Raiders

The Oakland Raiders officially announced the hiring of Jon Gruden as their next coach Saturday night, The East Bay Times reported.

>> Read more trending news

The Raiders announced the hiring of Gruden in a news release shortly after he finished calling the Chiefs-Titans playoff game for ESPN on Saturday afternoon. The team called a news conference for Tuesday afternoon to introduce Gruden, who coached the Raiders from 1998 to 2001.

Gruden’s 10-year, $100 million contract is the richest in NFL coaching history and matches Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson (both with the Cowboys) for the longest, the Times reported.

Gruden began his head-coaching career in Oakland 20 years ago Monday, leading the Raiders for four seasons before spending seven as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach. He is the second-youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl in NFL history, winning a ring at age 39 in his first season with Tampa Bay.

He hasn’t coached in the NFL since leading the Buccaneers in 2008.

Gruden will replace Jack Del Rio, who went 25-23 in three seasons with the franchise.

Gruden's return to coaching ends his nine-year stint with ESPN.

"It's an emotional and bittersweet day for our ‘Monday Night Football’ family, as today we say goodbye to coach Gruden after nine very distinguished years coaching this ‘Monday Night Football’ group," ESPN analyst Sean McDonough said at the beginning of Saturday's game.

WATCH: Titans' Marcus Mariota throws touchdown to himself in first playoff game

It took three quarters, but the Tennessee Titans’ offense finally woke up in their Wild Card round game of the NFL Playoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs after Marcus Mariota completed a touchdown pass to … Marcus Mariota.

>> Read more trending news 

That’s right, the quarterback caught his own deflected pass before diving into the end zone to cut the Chiefs’ lead to 21-10.

>> Watch the moment here

Tennessee added another score as Derrick Henry scored on a 35-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Titans later pulled ahead with another touchdown pass from Mariota to Eric Decker. 

The Titans ended up winning 22-21.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Buffalo Bills make good on thank-you gift, send wings to Bengals

The Buffalo Bills are making good on a promise they made Sunday, sending 1,440 chicken wings to the Cincinnati Bengals as a thank you for their last-minute win against Baltimore on Sunday, according to the Dayton Daily News. Cincinnati’s come-from-behind 31-27 win sent the Bills into the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

>> Read more trending news

The Bills announced the shipment Thursday evening in a tweet:

The Bills had thanked the Bengals on Twitter after Sunday’s games and promised to send some wings to Cincinnati.

>> Bills fans make more than $104K in donations to Dalton’s foundationThe gesture came after Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton announced that more than $315,000 had been raised by his charitable foundation in the wake of the team’s win over Baltimore. Fans had taken to celebrating the victory, and Dalton’s game-winning touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd -- by donating to the foundation in increments of $17. The dollars represent each year of the Bills’ playoff drought.

Fans also donated thousands of dollars to Boyd’s cause, the Western Pennsylvania Youth Athletic Association, WPXI reported.

Grateful Bills fans donate more than $104K to Andy Dalton’s foundation 

Buffalo fans exulted Sunday when the Bills ended a 17-year drought and qualified for the NFL playoffs. Buffalo had defeated Miami 22-16, but the postseason berth was made possible later when the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens 31-27. 

>> Read more trending news

Bills fans showed their gratitude by donating to a foundation started by Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in increments of $17, WLWT reported.

Dalton’s game-winning touchdown to Tyler Boyd on a fourth-and-12 play with 44 seconds to go Sunday, coupled with Tennessee’s victory against Jacksonville, helped the Bills punch a ticket to the playoffs. 

I think I'm the hottest guy in Buffalo right now," Dalton told ESPN on Monday. "According to my Twitter, I think everybody's loving us right now."

Bills fans continued to show their love by donating cash. As of Tuesday, more than 4,500 Bills fans have donated more than $104,000, officials with the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation said.

In a tweet, foundation officials said they were “blown away” by the generosity of the Bills’ fans.

Dalton began the foundation in 2011. Two college roommates of his wife, Jordan, are special education teachers, and their encouragement inspired the Daltons to form the foundation.

Donations will benefit the foundation's community outreach programs, including the Pass It On Fund, which aims to provide medical equipment and financial relief to families with seriously ill or physically challenged children, WLWT reported.

Donations will benefit the foundation's community outreach programs, including the Pass It On Fund, which aims to provide medical equipment and financial relief to families with seriously ill or physically challenged children, WLWT reported.

Here is the game-winning pass from Dalton that brought joy to Buffalo fans:

And here is the reaction by Buffalo fans:

The Bills, meanwhile, are sending wings to the Bengals, since Buffalo needed a Dalton wing and a prayer to get to the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

Photos: Alabama beats Clemson to win Sugar Bowl

It was a real slug fest on the way to a 24-6 win for Alabama.

Alabama beats Clemson in Sugar Bowl, will face Georgia in national championship

The much anticipated Alabama-Clemson rematch didn’t quite give us everything we hoped for as the offense was not nearly as exciting as the last two matchups. It was a real slug fest on the way to a 24-6 win for Alabama.

>> UGA wins Rose Bowl, heading to National Championship game

Both teams went three-and-out on their first offensive possessions, but Alabama put up three points on the board on their second possession. Clemson failed to get anything done on yet another possession after that field goal and the Tide ended up going down the field and scoring on a pretty much broken play:

>> PHOTOS: Alabama beats Clemson to win Sugar Bowl

Clemson got its initial first down of the game about a minute into the second quarter and seemed to get a little more comfortable on that drive. It ended with a field goal, though, to make it 10-3 with about 10 minutes left in the half. However, they lost star freshman running back Travis Etienne early in the game to concussion-like symptoms.

 >> PHOTOS: UGA wins Rose Bowl

Fortunately for Clemson, a missed field goal by Alabama kept the deficit to only seven points. Neither team got a foothold on offense, but the Crimson Tide just seemed to dominate and even held Clemson to 73 total yards in the first half. Alabama also more than doubled thatwith 182 of their own in the half.

Despite a fumble by Alabama to start the second half, Clemson was only able to get three points out of it to make it a 10-6 game as the offense still couldn’t get anything going. On the next possession, they seemed to be getting momentum as Kelly Bryant had gotten a few passes to go and was converting third downs, but had a costly turnover due to bad protection.

That led directly to a touchdown from Alabama and ironically enough, the receiver who caught it was the same guy who got the interception to get the Crimson Tide the ball in the first place. 

And when Clemson got the ball back, things really unraveled as Bryant threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by linebacker Mack Wilson.

That 24-6 score would hold to the fourth quarter as the total yards advantage went up to 225-99 in favor of Alabama after three quarters of play. This game was easily the worst offensive output of the season, if not the last few seasons, for Clemson and will surely send them back to the drawing board next season.

>> Read more trending news 

Clemson finished with 188 total yards while Alabama had 259 and the Tigers’ two turnovers were just too much to overcome as they both resulted in touchdowns for the other team. Crimson Tide running back Damien Harris had 18 carries for 75 yards while quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for 120 yards and two touchdowns on the game.

Georgia and Alabama will meet for an all-SEC National Championship Game after the Bulldogs beat Oklahoma in overtime in the Rose Bowl. The game will be played Jan. 8 with a kickoff set for 8 p.m.

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