Early Tua Tagovailoa Rookie Card Guide: Leaf or Panini?

tua tagovailoa rookie card leaf metal


When it comes to the Tua Tagovailoa rookie card market, Leaf and Panini have it on lock.  For now, anyway.  The two brands are known for coming to the market QUICKLY with “rookie cards” featuring recent draft picks in their college uniforms.  Take these Joe Burrow rookie cards for example.  As you can see, the brands know how to grab the bull by the horns.  That said, we’re excited to see what they’ve produced for the OTHER stud quarterback of the 2020 draft.  But first, let’s see exactly how Tua has earned his stud status.


Tua Tagovailoa:  The College Years 


Tua Tagovailoa burst onto the scene when he received the call to relieve the ineffective Jalen Hurts in the 2018 National Championship game vs Georgia.  And Tua answered that call, in a BIG way.  After his predecessor spotted the Bulldogs a 13 point lead going into the 3rd quarter, Tua slowly but surely pulled the Tide back into contention.  With only 3:49 left on the clock, the true freshman found Calvin Ridley in the end zone to force overtime.  And with the game on the line in OT, Tua rose to the occasion with a game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith.

After the heroics of his freshman season, Tua was thirsty for an encore in 2018-2019.   Now with the confidence of a sophomore, Tua made it look easy all season long with the only real scare coming from that pesky Georgia team he faced in the championship the year before.  But when it came time to play for another title, it was yet again time for a true freshman to take center stage.  To put things lightly, Tua Tagovailoa and the Crimson Tide had absolutely no answer for Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers.  Final score 44-16.

The already jaw-dropping college resuming continued in the 2019-2020 season.  Tagovailoa seemed ready to make yet another playoff run before being cut down in the 2nd quarter of a blowout win vs Miss St.  The brutal dislocated hip prevented Tua from seeing the college field ever again and put an end to what was shaping up to be an outstanding season.


Tua Tagovailoa Rookie Card:  Leaf Vs. Panini


Panini Prizm (Find Bargain on eBay)

tua tagovailoa rookie card panini prizm

When it comes to Tua Tagovailoa rookie cards made by Panini, the most valuable are Contender and Prizms.  As far as the Prizms go, you can find a number of high-end cards.  These include the Panini Prizm Gold “Cracked Ice”, the Panini Prizm Silver, the Panini Prizm Draft, and Panini Prizm “College Ties”.  There are all sorts of variations to choose from but some of the highest/rarest are going at auction for around $1,000.  Oh, and by the way, those are UNGRADED!


Panini Contender (Find Bargain on eBay)

panini contender

Panini’s “Contender” cards can be just as valuable as some of the high-end Prizms.  The hottest right now seems to be the “College Ticket” card which comes in a variety of different styles.  Additional variations include “School Colors”, “Game Day Ticket”, and “Draft Picks”.  No matter which way you turn, chances are you’ll have a card many collectors will be jealous of.


Leaf Metal Draft (Find Bargain on eBay)

tua tagovailoa rookie card leaf metal

While the Tua Tagovailoa rookie cards from Leaf aren’t as pricey as the some of Panini’s we just spoke about, they’re certainly nothing to scoff at.  For instance, ungraded Leaf Metal Draft cards can be found going for nearly $500.  Just wait until we start seeing some 10 grades hit the market!


Leaf Ultimate Draft (Find Bargain on eBay)

leaf ultimate

These don’t seem to be as valuable as their “Metal” counterparts.  However, what they lack in value, they certainly make up for in style.  The cards feature solo shots of Tua dropping back to pass with that deadly accurate left arm.  Collectors who decide to hold for the long term can only hope that arm is just as accurate against NFL competition.



Tua Tagovailoa Rookie Card Final Verdict


There are a variety of factors that should go into this decision.  However, above all, you should ask yourself how much you believe in Tua.  Is he the next Steve Young (he’s actually kinda similar besides just the whole left-handed thing).   Or will he make like fellow Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and fade into the world of back up QB obscurity?

If you think he’s the next Young, don’t hesitate to load up on some of those high-end Panini’s!  But if you’re a little uncertain, it could be a good idea to mitigate your risk and buy a less costly Leaf.  On the other hand, if you think he’s the next McCarron, your only option is to sell the hype BEFORE he shows his true colors.  One thing’s for certain when it comes to hype, there’s going to be plenty of it.