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A different side of Tua through Rinaldi’s poignant prism

Week after week, Tom Rinaldi tells impactful, tear-jerking stories on College GameDay (Saturdays, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN) that leave fans reaching for their tissues. This weekend’s feature may be no different, as Rinaldi sits down with Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to discuss what “Ohana” means to him.

He is just as thoughtful in every day conversation as he is in telling a story. He is an incredibly talented writer and reporter.

- Robinson on Rinaldi

Meghan Robinson, an ESPN features producer who worked with Rinaldi on the piece, said there is never pressure to create something emotional, but that the goal is always to put the best piece on television.

“With Tom, what you see is what you get,” Robinson said. “The way he writes his stories is the same way he writes in a text message or speaks with you on the phone. He is just as thoughtful in everyday conversation as he is in telling a story. He is an incredibly talented writer and reporter. The way he paints pictures with his words might naturally make a piece more emotional, but he is not writing with those intentions. That’s just who he is.”

The feature, which will air during GameDay’s visit to Atlanta ahead of the SEC Championship Game, explains how one single word – Ohana – is both Tagovailoa’s inspiration and his way of life.

“There are so many people that have had an impact on Tua and his football career,” Robinson said. “We learned so much about his upbringing and his culture, and I was fascinated. His family is so welcoming, have such a pride in where they come from and are so proud of Tua, and you can see that on their faces when they talk about him.”

It’s a pride that extends to Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.

“It is always interesting to hear a coach’s perspective on a player,” Robinson said. “But the one thing that struck a chord with Coach is the respect Tua has for his family and culture, and that was definitely conveyed in our interview with Coach.”

JOURNALISM ON DISPLAY

– Molly Mita

Friday FOURward

Coming up this week across ESPN

Selection Sunday

“Who’s In?” Find out the College Football Playoff selection committee’s decisions this weekend. (Photo by Melissa Rawlins / ESPN Images)

This Sunday, Dec. 2, ESPN will air the exclusive reveal of the College Football Playoff selection committee’s four playoff teams, its complete top 25 and matchups for the New Year’s Six bowls beginning at noon ET.

Monday Night Football

Philadelphia, PA – Monday Night Football will be live from Lincoln Financial Field. (Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

Monday Night Football (8:15 p.m. ET) will head to Philadelphia for an NFC East showdown between the Washington Redskins and the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Jimmy V Classic

New York, NY – The 2018 Jimmy V Men’s and Women’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona airs the first weekend in December. (Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

The Jimmy V Men’s and Women’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona will begin with the Women’s Classic on Sunday, Dec. 2, followed by the Men’s Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 4, all airing live on ESPN.

College Football Awards

Atlanta, GA – The 28th Annual Home Depot College Football Awards will be handed out next week. (Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

The 28th annual Home Depot College Football Awards will be presented on Thursday, December 6 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

– Molly Mita