BALTIMORE >> In an expected move, record-setting Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa has entered the NCAA transfer portal and will seek an extra year of eligibility to play a sixth college season, according to a source with direct knowledge of the move.

As a redshirt senior, Tagovailoa is not currently eligible to play in 2024, but he can receive a hardship waiver from the NCAA to return to the field at a new school.

In four seasons in College Park after transferring from Alabama, Tagovailoa set nearly every Maryland career passing record, including yards (11,256), touchdowns (76), completion percentage (.671), 300-yard games (15) and a single-season passing record (3,860 yards). He was named second-team All-Big Ten in each of the past two seasons and helped the Terps reach three straight bowl games for the first time since 2001 to 2003.

After setting the Big Ten’s all-time passing mark in a 42-24 win over Rutgers in the regular-season finale Nov. 25, Tagovailoa opted out of the Music City Bowl against Auburn on Dec. 30.

Led by backup quarterbacks Billy Edwards Jr. and Cameron Edge, Maryland (8-5) rolled, 31-13, over the Tigers (6-7) to win bowls in three consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.

Before the game in Nashville, Tenn., coach Mike Locksley and several Terps players said they did not have a problem with Tagovailoa deciding not to play against Auburn. It’s become common for star players entering the NFL Draft or transferring to another school to sit out bowl games to avoid risking injury.

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels and USC’s Caleb Williams, the past two Heisman Trophy winners, were among several standouts who did not play in the postseason.

“He handled it the right way,” coach Mike Locksley said of Tagovailoa last month. “Great family, great people. He’s got some decisions to make, and I’m excited for him, but this is across the country. This is happening to everybody. So Maryland fans, understand this happens to everyone, not just Coach Locks. So we’re good, we’ll be fine.”

While it’s unclear where Tagovailoa will play next season if declared eligible, Miami has been rumored as a popular landing spot, with Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke transferring to Wisconsin. Tagovailoa’s older brother, Tua, is the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.

For successful college quarterbacks, the transfer market is big business. In November, Nebraska coach Matt Rhule estimated the cost of bringing in a high-end quarterback at $1 million to $2 million when factoring in name, image and likeness deals. At Big Ten media days in March, Tagovailoa revealed that he was offered $1.5 million to transfer to a Southeastern Conference school.

However, Taulia Tagovailoa first needs to be granted a waiver from the NCAA to play a sixth season.

At issue is Tagovailoa’s eligibility.

A member of the 2019 recruiting class, Tagovailoa has already played five seasons of college football and used his extra eligibility the NCAA granted players because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Yahoo. He spent the first season of his career at Alabama with Tua before transferring to Maryland ahead of the 2020 season.

Tagovailoa appeared in five games as a freshman in 2019. He attempted 12 passes that season and only attempted passes in three games.

Had Tagovailoa appeared in four games, he could have redshirted that season and still had a year of eligibility remaining without a waiver. According to Yahoo, Tagovailoa told ESPN that he had filed for a waiver for an extra year of eligibility because he appeared in Alabama’s 38-7 win over Mississippi State. Tagovailoa handed off twice to end that game after his brother suffered a season-ending hip injury earlier in the game.

“Honestly, if I could do it again, hopefully my brother doesn’t get injured and I’m not in that emotional state where I want to play in the game,” Tagovailoa told ESPN’s Pete Thamel. “If I got to do it over again, I wouldn’t have played in the game.”

“Coach asked me if I wanted to go in. Of course I wanted to go in and play for my brother. And that’s what happened.”

That game was the fourth game Tagovailoa appeared in during 2019. The fifth game came a week later when he completed two of his three pass attempts against Western Carolina. Had he not played against the FCS program, he would have been able to count 2019 as a redshirt year.

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