Video: Tua Tagovailoa's ultimate highlights
Watch the Miami Dolphins' No. 1 pick star in high school at St. Louis (Honolulu).
It's a tough time to be a high school football player these days. Especially in Florida.
Coronavirus cases there are spiking, but also everywhere throughout the U.S. The prospects of a 2020 season starting on time — or at all — appear to be dwindling, leading to hopelessness and uncertainty among the players.
The Miami Dolphins did their best to lift those spirits last week with their eighth annual high school football Media Day, but first executed virtually.
Players and high school teams from 150 Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties were invited to the life-skills presentation, which featured current Dolphins' rookies — including No. 1 pick Tua Tagovailoa
— offering insights and personal experiences on topics that ranged from finances and diversity to inclusion, nutrition and social media.
More than 600 players registered to take part in the hour-long teleconference session.
"It wasn't too long ago that the rookies were in our players' shoes," said Columbus (Miami)
football coach David Dunn. "I think they have an unbelievable perspective having been here recently and can give these guys great leadership and advice on how to get to where they are while managing being a student-athlete."
Race relations and social injustice were among the topics immediately broached and the rookies did not back off.
"No matter who the person next to me on the line looks like or where they come from, I'm going to treat them with the same love and respect I do with my own family members," said Dolphins' rookie long snapper Blake Ferguson.
Tagovailoa, a Heisman finalist at Alabama, two-time collegiate national champion and No. 5 pick of the NFL draft, was the highest profile rookie in the presentation. He starred at St. Louis (Honolulu)
as a prep.
He was asked about the use of social media, and immediately warned of its pitfalls.
"If you're on that thing every time, you're obviously going to see whatever anyone says," he said. "If you're someone who likes to post just to post because you like the likes or you like the comments, you're going to see that. … But having the structure of my family and then our faith as well, that's kind of what's helped me not worry about those kinds of things."
He admitted to having a small addiction to TikTok, a popular video-sharing network service. "You don't even have to register. You can just scroll through and before you know it, you're on that thing for five hours."
"I loved the way the NFL players, the rookies, they gave their insight and explained how they did things," Hood said.