Player: Bryce Young, Alabama
With C.J. Stroud generating Pro Day buzz and concerns about his size resurfacing at the Combine, Young was looking to solidify his top-pick status with a great workout. He did not disappoint. Young exhibited the same agility and compact, sudden release seen on his Alabama film. He also consistently showed the ability to get quickly into his drop, and then immediately calm his feet when climbing the pocket and setting to throw. His ball placement was precise to all levels (missing just six of 50 passes). As in Indianapolis, Young did not run a 40, leaving it somewhat of a mystery as to his straight-line speed — NFL Draft Scout projects him to run a 4.58 40 — but has let it be known that he’ll run for any NFL team in a private workout before the Draft. Young acknowledged having dined with Carolina Panthers coaches and front office personnel the night before his Pro Day.
Young did not throw at the Combine, announcing at the event that he’d throw at his March 23 Pro Day. Young and others dismissed speculation that he was still feeling effects from his October 2022 shoulder injury. However, choosing not to throw only made the focus on Young’s durability and size — he measured 5-10 1/8 in Indy, shorter than his listed collegiate height of 6-0 — that much sharper. While Young’s weight of 204 was 10 pounds heavier than his listed playing weight at ‘Bama, he doesn’t appear to have the frame to add much more bulk in the NFL. Young’s hand measured 9 3/4 inches, slightly bigger than that of Arizona Cardinals’ QB Kyler Murray, a former No. 1 overall pick who also faced questions about his size heading into the 2019 Draft. Young did not a run a 40 at the Combine or compete in other timed events.
Summary: Since high school and throughout his career at Alabama, Young has been a poised, patient and productive quarterback and natural team leader who exhibits an outstanding football IQ. Young’s dynamic athleticism makes the former Heisman Trophy winner the top-rated quarterback talent in the draft, although he might not be the top pick, as concerns again surfaced at the Combine about his physical stature. Young has some of the same traits—nimble athleticism, quickness, and awareness—that have allowed smaller quarterbacks such as Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray to produce at the NFL level. Like Patrick Mahomes, Young displays the ability to throwing accurately from a variety of arm angles. Unlike Mahomes, Young has good, not great, arm strength.
College: After committing to USC (July 25, 2018) as a junior at Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Ca.), Young visited Alabama (September, 2019) and de-committed from USC two days later, signing a letter of intent with Alabama in December (then enrolled January 6, 2020). He was a freshman backup to Mac Jones and appeared briefly at the end of the 2021 CFP National Championship 52-24 win over Ohio State. As a sophomore, Young passed for 4,872 yards, 47 touchdowns, with seven interceptions, as the team went 13-2 and Young raked in multiple honors, most notably the Heisman Trophy, a first for an Alabama quarterback. In 2022, Young was troubled by an injured throwing shoulder, missed one game and finished with 3,328 yards passing with 32 TDP and five interceptions. He is the only quarterback in Alabama history to throw for 3,000-plus yards in two seasons and finished second in school history for career passing yards (8,356) and passing touchdowns (80).
Before college: Born in Philadelphia, July 25, 2001, Young moved with his parents, Julie and Craig Young, to Pasadena. Kevin Pearson, who would be Bryce's coach at Cathedral High School, first noted his elite potential as a seventh grader. Bryce's father, Craig, built a trusting relationship with Pearson, who selflessly supported the player's transfer to football power Mater Dei (Santa Ana) when quarterback JT Daniels created an opening by enrolling early at USC. After two Mater Dei seasons, Bryce's prep passing stats included 13,520 yards, 152 touchdowns and he became a five-star recruit. Craig Young, a mental health specialist, supported Bryce by keeping everything in perspective. That included Bryce's brand, his NIL value, which soared to $3.2 million based more on football success than an overly conspicuous social media presence. In 2016, when Bryce was a 15-year old freshman at Cathedral High, he received his first college offer, from Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, whose quarterback at the time was Patrick Mahomes. Then came an avalanche of offers -- at least 18 Big five schools -- before he committed to USC. Craig was annoyed that his own alma mater, UCLA and head coach Chip Kelly, was leery of Bryce's diminutive size and didn't offer until after he committed to USC. Interestingly, at the end of his prep career, Young was the top rated quarterback recruit, ahead of No. 2 DJ Uiagalelei (Clemson, Oregon State) and No. 3. C. J. Stroud (Ohio State, rated No. 2 in 2023 draft). After two visits to Alabama and visits from Bama coaches Nick Saban and Steve Sarkisian, Bryce decided in December 2019 that his best fit was the Crimson Tide, where quarterback Mac Jones would play his final season in 2020. Good-bye USC and hello greatness at Alabama.
Strengths: Young has a combination of awareness, agility, focus and a quick trigger when a target is open. Effective whether he is in the pocket or on the move and is probably more comfortable and dangerous when flushed out of the pocket. Young frustrates defenses with elusiveness that displays his quickness and speed -- about 4.5 seconds in 40 yards. He manages incredible feats with uncanny creativity off script while making them look easy and natural. Think Steph Curry.
Weakness: Lacks height, weight and physical measurements that would be beneficial in the NFL. He showed vulnerability in 2022 with a shoulder injury incurred while extending a play outside the pocket. If he is drafted by a team that cannot protect him, Young's durability will become an issue, as it is with other undersized NFL quarterbacks such as Tua Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray, each of whom missed time during the 2022 NFL season.
Frankly: Be realistic. Put him in the right system with a good offensive line and Young can perform magic, even against NFL competition. Hey, he did it against Georgia's NFL-like defense in the 2021 SEC championship game with 412 yards passing and three scores. But Young's durability will be severely tested on a team that cannot protect him. Joe Burrow stood up to a beating, David Carr did not and both were bigger than Young.
HISTORY -- From Alabama profile
The only quarterback in Alabama history to throw for 3,000-plus yards in two seasons (also 2021) ... finished second in program history for career passing yards (8,356) and passing touchdowns (80) ... the Crimson Tide's all-time leader for five-touchdown games with five ... selected as a second team All-American by Pro Football Focus and USA Today ... earned second team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press ... finished second in the SEC and tied for 10th nationally for passing touchdowns with 32 ... totaled 3,328 yards, good for third in the SEC, on 245-of-380 passing with the 32 scores and five interceptions ... added 49 rushes for 185 yards and four touchdowns on the ground ... selected as the Most Valuable Player in the Sugar Bowl ... finalist for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award, which is presented annually to the most outstanding athlete at the collegiate or Olympic level in the United States ... selected as a finalist for the Manning Award ... named a semifinalist for the Maxwell and the Walter Camp Player of the Year awards, presented each year to the top player in college football ... also listed as a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Award, which goes to the nation's top quarterback ... selected to watch lists for the O'Brien and Manning awards entering the 2022 campaign ... also named to the watch list for the Unitas Golden Arm Award that recognizes the top junior or senior signal-caller in college football ... tabbed to the Maxwell and Walter Camp Player of the Year watch lists ... earned preseason first team All-America accolades from the AP, PFF, The Sporting News and Walter Camp ... selected as one of the offensive players of the week by the Crimson Tide coaches for his play against Utah State, Texas, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Auburn. Utah State: Accounted for six total touchdowns at night's end, the most by an Alabama quarterback since 2019 ... finished 18-of-28 for 195 yards and five touchdowns through the air ... added one score on the ground as part of his career-high and team-best 100 rushing yards across five carries. Texas: Totaled 251 yards of total offense, throwing for 213 and rushing for 38 more ... was 27-of-39 for 213 yards and one touchdown passing ... also rushed seven times for 38 yards, including a 20-yard gain late in the fourth quarter on what would be the game-winning drive. ULM: Played just over a half of football ... went 13-of-18 passing for 236 yards and three scores with two interceptions ... added three rushes for six yards and a touchdown. Vanderbilt: Threw for a season-high 385 yards with four touchdowns on 25-of-36 passing ... totaled an NCAA-leading 195.9 passer rating for the week ... also rushed for six yards on his lone carry. Arkansas: Left the game midway through the second quarter after suffering an upper body injury ... was 7-of-13 passing for 173 yards, one touchdown and an interception ... added two rushes for four yards and a score. Tennessee: Returned to the field after missing the Texas A&M game due to injury ... tied his career-high total for completions with a 35-of-52 night ... accumulated 455 yards and two scores through the air ... also rushed four times for no gain ... helped the Tide to points on seven of the team's 11 drives, including five touchdowns. Mississippi State: Threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns on 21-of-35 passing ... added four rushes for no gain. LSU: Made some highlight-reel plays in the top-15 matchup ... finished 25-of-51 for 328 yards to go with a touchdown and one pick ... added four rushes for 10 yards. Ole Miss: Orchestrated an Alabama comeback on the road, overcoming a 10-point deficit at two separate points on the day for the eventual top-15 win ... threw for three touchdowns and 209 yards on 21-of-33 passing ... also rushed seven times for 27 yards, converting a pair of first downs across his four true rushes. Austin Peay: Posted an efficient 18-of-24 showing for 221 yards and two touchdowns in just over a half of action. Auburn: Put together another impressive performance, accounting for four touchdowns and 391 yards of total offense ... finished 20-of-30 passing for 343 yards and three scores ... added five rushes for 48 yards and a touchdown on the ground ... eclipsed the 3,000-yard marker with his showing against the Tigers, making him the only quarterback in Alabama history to throw for 3,000-plus yards in two separate seasons. Kansas State: Earned Most Valuable Player honors in the Sugar Bowl ... matched his career-high total for touchdown passes with five ... the five touchdowns were the most by any Crimson Tide quarterback in a bowl game and matched Mac Jones (2021 CFP National Championship Game) for the most in a postseason game (bowl or CFP) in program history ... finished 15-of-21 passing for 321 yards and the five scores ... after starting 1-of-4, he finished 14-of-17 for 315 yards and five touchdowns to close out the day ... added three rushes for no gain.
Earned the starting job at quarterback after spending his freshman season backing up Mac Jones ... set the Alabama single-season marks for passing yards (4,872) and touchdowns (47) ... selected as one of the Crimson Tide's permanent team captains for the 2021 campaign ... recipient of the Heisman Trophy, the Crimson Tide's fourth winner since 2009 and second in as many seasons ... also recognized as college football's Player of the Year by the Associated Press and The Sporting News ... winner of the Maxwell Award, recognizing college football's top player ... claimed the Davey O'Brien and Manning awards, both presented annually to the nation's top quarterback ... consensus first team All-American by the AP, FWAA and TSN ... also received first-team honors from CBS Sports, ESPN.com, Pro Football Focus and USA Today ... picked up second team All-America accolades from the AFCA and Walter Camp ... the SEC Offensive Player of the Year by both the AP and the conference coaches ... also named to the league's first team by both groups ... led the SEC and ranked second nationally with 47 passing touchdowns and 4,872 passing yards ... ranked third in the conference and seventh in Division I in pass efficiency rating at 167.5 by season's end ... finished 366-of-547 with 47 scores compared to seven interceptions across 15 starts ... rushed 81 times with three touchdowns ... was a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award ... selected as a midseason All-American by the AP ... added to the watch lists for the O’Brien, Maxwell and Manning awards at midseason ... earned Davey O’Brien ‘Great 8’ recognition for his efforts against Miami, Southern Miss, Mississippi State and Tennessee ... was also named one of the Manning Stars of the Week for his play against the Hurricanes, at State and against UT and Arkansas ... tabbed the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week after his first start in Atlanta ... earned Maxwell Award Player of the Week accolades for his record-setting day against Arkansas ... selected as the SEC Offensive Player of the Week for his performances against Miami, Tennessee and Arkansas ... also named one of the offensive players of the week by the Alabama coaches for his play against Miami, Southern Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, New Mexico State, Arkansas and Georgia. Miami: Impressed in his first career start, finishing 27-of-38 for 344 yards and four touchdowns ... connected from 37, 9, 25 and 94 yards out for his scores ... his 344 yards and four touchdowns were the most by a Crimson Tide quarterback in his starting debut ... added two rushes for no gain. Mercer: Totaled three touchdowns and 227 yards on 19-of-27 passing ... added two rushes for one yard. Florida: Helped the Tide jump out to an early lead with three first-quarter touchdown passes ... finished 22-of-35 for 240 yards to go with four rushes for no gain. Southern Miss: Finished 20-of-22 for 313 yards and five touchdowns ... his 90.9 completion percentage set a then-school single-game record (minimum 20 completions) ... the five scores tied for the second-most touchdowns in a single game in UA history. Ole Miss: Kept the offense rolling with a 20-of-26 performance that included 241 yards and two touchdowns. Texas A&M: Threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns with an interception on 28-of-48 passing ... added seven rushes for no gain. Mississippi State: Earned multiple national honors for his efficient night in Starkville ... finished 20-of-28 for 348 yards and four touchdowns ... contributed with his legs as well, rushing for 34 combined yards while converting two first downs. Tennessee: Threw for 371 yards with two touchdowns on 31-of-43 passing ... gained another 56 yards and scored twice across his eight rushing attempts ... converted 12 first downs in the game with eight through the air and four on the ground. LSU: Finished his night 24-of-37 for 302 yards and two touchdowns ... added nine rushes for no gain. New Mexico State: Put together an efficient effort, finishing 21-of-23 for 270 yards and a career-high tying five touchdowns ... completed his first 13 throws on the way to posting an Alabama single-game completion percentage record at 91.3 (minimum 20 completions) ... the 91.3 topped his previous program-best mark that he set earlier this year against Southern Miss ... also rushed four times for seven yards on the day. Arkansas: Threw for five touchdowns in a game for the third time this season ... completed 31-of-40 passes for 559 yards and his five scores ... broke the Alabama school record for passing yards in a single game, a record that had stood for 52 years ... recorded 13 passes of 20 yards or more, including touchdowns from 20, 79, 32 and 40 yards away. Auburn: Finished his day 25-of-51 for 317 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in the Iron Bowl ... orchestrated a late-game comeback after starting slow ... accumulated 242 passing yards on 17-of-31 passing across the final seven drives of the game to help UA post 20 points across the fourth quarter and four overtimes. Georgia: Earned Most Valuable Player honors in the win over the top-ranked Bulldogs ... recorded three touchdowns and 421 yards through the air on 26-of-44 passing ... added three rushes for 40 yards with a score on the ground ... set the SEC Championship Game record for passing yards and total offense (461) with his impressive performance. Cincinnati: Totaled three touchdown passes and 181 yards as part of his 17-of-28 day ... also rushed six times for 12 yards. Georgia: Went 35-of-57 passing for 369 yards with one touchdown and a pair of interceptions.
Gained experience behind starter Mac Jones ... played in nine games during his first season at the Capstone ... finished 13-of-22 passing for 156 yards and a touchdown ... added nine rushes for no gain. Missouri: Made his collegiate debut late in the third quarter ... finished 5-of-8 for 54 yards as a passer ... added four rushes for two yards against the Tigers. Texas A&M: Entered late in the fourth quarter but did not attempt a pass. Tennessee: Totaled 30 yards on 3-of-5 passing ... added one rush for no gain. Mississippi State: Finished 0-for-2 passing while adding one rush. Kentucky: Connected with DeVonta Smith for the first touchdown pass of his career ... wrapped up his day 2-of-2 passing for 53 yards with a long gain of 35 ... added one rush against the Wildcats. Auburn: Came in late to help the Tide secure the win ... recorded one rush for no gain and did not attempt a pass. LSU: Finished 0-for-1 passing with one rush for no gain. Arkansas: Completed 3-of-4 passes for a combined 19 yards. Ohio State: Entered late in the game as the Tide secured its 18th national championship in program history.
High School and Personal
Cathedral High School (Pasadena, CA), Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA). The nation's top-ranked dual-threat quarterback by all major outlets ... a composite five-star prospect ... selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, where he earned Offensive MVP honors and was named the All-American Bowl Player of the Year ... selected as the 2019 High School Quarterback of the Year by the National Quarterback Club, the Maxwell Offensive Player of the Year while sharing the MaxPreps Player of the Year ... named to Sports Illustrated's inaugural high school All-American team ... Gatorade Football Player of the Year in California ... No. 2 nationally and the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback on the 247 Composite ... invited Nike's “The Opening” and was an Elite 11 finalist ... finished as No. 1 overall in recruit in the Top247 ... the top-ranked dual-threat passer nationally by 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals.com ... rated as the No. 1 player in California by 247Sports ... Rivals rated him as the No. 2 player nationally while ESPN listed him fifth in the publication's ESPN300.