Marcus Mariota, coming off the biggest win of his NFL career in the Wild-Card Round of the playoffs, had another reason to be beaming with pride after Monday night's national championship game.
Mariota's protege and fellow Hawaii native, Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, led the Crimson Tide to an overtime win over Georgia in the title game, throwing three TD passes in the second half, including the game winner, after coming off the bench.
"The kid is a stud," Mariota said, per the Titans' website. "He's the next guy coming up. I'm proud of him. From where that kid has come from and how he has grown and how he handled the situation last night, it was very impressive. He is a special player and hopefully he can continue the success."
Tagovailoa was in fourth grade when he met Mariota at a St. Louis School football camp -- the Honolulu school they both attended -- and Mariota took the youngster under his wing. When Tagovailoa would try to compete with the older kids at the camp, some of them would laugh at him, but not Mariota.
"Everybody would kind of look at me different, but the one person who stood out was Marcus," Tagovailoa told The Oregonian in 2014. "He didn't really separate me from everybody. He would teach me. While everyone else said, 'Get out of the way,' Marcus would just pull me aside -- and he was one of the best quarterbacks there. Just to get taught by him and him giving me attention I didn't deserve, it was just awesome."
Tagovailoa, a true freshman, is just getting started in his college career, but he's already etched his name into Alabama football lore with his heroic performance against Georgia. After watching him in the national championship game, NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks wrote that he expects the young QB to earn Russell Wilson comps from NFL scouts in due time.
Yes, the future is looking bright for the QBs from Hawaii.
"It is nice to see someone like him continue to carry the torch from back home and hopefully he can continue to take it to higher standards," Mariota said.