Alabama’s Bryce Young is Sporting News’ 2021 Player of the Year

Alabama trailed Auburn 10-3 with 1:32 remaining and wanted a 97-yard drive to tie the sport in entrance of a frenzied, hostile crowd.

At that second, sophomore quarterback Bryce Young didn’t give a speech or an unforgettable one-liner. Young and his teammates merely let the play do the speaking. 

“Really it was only a fruits of occasions, and us working collectively and constructing belief in one another and believing in one another,” Young advised Sporting News. “In a state of affairs like that, all of us understood what was at stake. We all understood what we needed to do. 

“We have been all prepared for the second.” 


It took 12 performs, a fourth-and- 7 conversion and a third-and-10 landing go to Ja’Corey Brooks to tie the Iron Bowl, and every thing else was a windfall. The Crimson Tide beat the Tigers in 4 overtimes. Alabama beat No. 1 Georgia in the SEC championship sport on Dec. 4 and Young received the Heisman Trophy on Dec. 12. 

Young, who handed for 4,322 yards, 43 TDs and 4 interceptions, will lead the Crimson Tide right into a College Football Playoff semifinal on Dec. 31 towards Cincinnati as the chief of the No. 1 seed. For his efforts, he is the 2021 Sporting News College Football Player of the Year. He joins Tua Tagovailoa (2018) and DeVonta Smith (2020) as the third participant in the final 4 years to win the award.

MORE: SN’s 2021 All-America group

In a approach, that was a fruits of occasions, too. Young has been on the massive stage since highschool, the place he was a five-star quarterback at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif. He was the first African American quarterback at school historical past, and he handed for 4,528 yards and 58 TDs as a senior. 


He additionally performed in a legendary Division I state championship sport towards St. John Bosco and now-Clemson quarterback D.J. Uigalelei. Young handed for 405 yards and 5 TDs in a 39-34 loss. That was half of Young’s studying curve, one he mentioned comes from chasing the finest competitors. 

“When you are enjoying it is all the time relative,” Young mentioned. “Obviously you’d say the SEC championship sport is greater than a convention championship sport in highschool, however at the time that is not the case,” mentioned. “It’s simply your subsequent championship sport.”

Young spent his final yr in highschool watching Tagovailoa from afar. His first season at Alabama was spent watching Mac Jones, who led the Crimson Tide to an ideal 13-0 report and nationwide championship. Young watched the future first-rounder in the weight room and observe discipline and noticed how that translated to success on the discipline.

“It was all that, after which seeing how (Tagovailoa and Jones) grew and led the group,” Young mentioned. “I used to be younger, and to have the ability to witness that as my first expertise in faculty was tremendous useful for me.” 


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Young nonetheless entered the season as an unknown amount. Alabama misplaced offensive playmakers Jones, Smith, Najee Harris and Jaylen Waddle to the 2021 NFL Draft, and Bill O’Brien changed Steve Sarkisian as offensive coordinator. Ohio State switch receiver Jameson Williams stepped right into a function position alongside John Metchie III.

Young has nicknames for all three. He put in that work with “OB,” “Metch” and “Jameo” in the offseason, and he credited these three for serving to him grasp the offense. That translated right into a 344-yard, four-TD debut towards Miami in the opener. Young unknowingly set the tempo for a muddled Heisman race proper there.

Young’s calm demeanor, even after the 41-38 loss to Texas A&M on Oct. 9, by no means wavered. After the Iron Bowl victory, Young handed for 421 yards, rushed for 40 yards and totaled 4 TDs in a 41-24 victory towards Georgia. That put the Crimson Tide in the CFP for the seventh time, and they’re going to have the alternative to win a seventh nationwide championship beneath Nick Saban. 

“It’s simply understanding what it may take and what’s obligatory. It was a fantastic end result (towards Georgia),” he mentioned. “We have been capable of accomplish one of our targets, which is the SEC championship. That’s nice, however we additionally understood that is not going to have any say in profitable a sport towards Cincinnati.” 

MORE: Predicting Alabama-Cincinnati and each different bowl sport

Young is immersed in “The Process.” He recited Saban’s line about creating self-value inside the group, and it is clear the quarterback appears destined for the similar success Tagovailoa and Jones are experiencing at the subsequent stage. Young, nonetheless, maintains the maturity that comes with sticking in the current tense. Young was one of SN first-team All-Americans from Alabama together with Williams, deal with Evan Neal and linebacker Will Anderson Jr.

In that setup, Young mentioned it is about getting ready for the subsequent second.

“That’s one of the beauties about being at Bama,” Young mentioned. “You know that in case you take care of what you are promoting on the discipline as a group and also you win, particular person accolades and awards usually are not one thing you need to fear about. We all perceive that, and it makes it quite a bit simpler to deal with what’s vital, and that is profitable video games.”

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