Out with the old, in with the new
The University of Alabama’s 2017 recruiting class saw the number one dual-threat quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, join the Crimson Tide. After an epic relief performance in the 2018 national championship and an outstanding three years in Tuscaloosa, Tua became the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. As fate would have it, Alabama’s 2020 recruiting class also includes the number one ranked dual-threat quarterback, Bryce Young. Young is not only the number one ranked dual-threat quarterback, but he is the overall number two player in the country according to 247sports.com.
Young earned his recruiting rank and took home seemingly every high school football award during his senior year. He was the Gatorade Player of the year in California, Maxwell Football Club Offensive National High School Player of the Year, All-American Bowl MVP, and earned invites to the Opening finals and Elite 11 finals.
Young powered “Quarterback High,” Mater Dei, all the way to the California state championship game in 2019 only to fall to St. John Bosco and the 2020 number one pro-style quarterback, DJ Uiagalelei. Young has all the pedigree and skill to one day add his name to Mater Dei’s “Heisman Lane.”
Young had his choice of the nation’s best football programs coming out of high school. He had even committed initially to the University of Southern California before a visit to Alabama changed everything. The fanfare Young is bringing to Alabama is well deserved. And, with the supporting cast that he will be walking into Young’s days of awards and accolades are just getting started.
Anyone who follows college football knows that the University of Alabama is among the best programs in the country. Just look at the 2020 NFL draft, where Alabama had four players drafted in the first round. Even with these departures, the cupboard is still stocked, especially on offense. The offensive line is going to be anchored by Alex Leatherwood at left tackle, who would have been in the first-round discussion had he declared for the 2019 NFL draft.
Another player who surprisingly returned to Alabama for his senior year is running back Najee Harris. Harris will combine with 2019 recruit, Trey Sanders, to form a one-two punch of former five-star recruits in the backfield. Expect these two to receive a lot of work in 2020 as Nick Saban likes to get multiple running backs involved in the offense.
For any other team in the nation, losing two 1st-round-caliber receivers to the NFL draft would be a killer. But this is Alabama; they will roll out DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle as starters. Both Smith and Waddle are big-time players who will be in the mix as All-Americans and future first-round NFL picks themselves. Additionally, Alabama will welcome three four-star wide receiver recruits in 2020: Thaiu Jones-Bell, Traeshon Holden, and Javon Baker. The Crimson Tide will have one of the more explosive and powerful offenses in the country in 2020 and beyond.
Is Bryce Young going to get the keys to this offense as a freshman?
Well, let’s look at the Alabama quarterback situation. Mac Jones finished the season as the starter for Alabama after Tua was lost for the season with a hip injury. Jones had a decent showing in a loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, and with Jerry Jeudy’s 200-yard performance, Alabama beat an overmatched Michigan team in the Citrus Bowl.
All signs pointed to a quarterback competition in Tuscaloosa with 2019 four-star recruit Taulia Tagovailoa in the fold. However, Taulia recently transferred to Maryland, leaving only Jones and Young as the only real options to start. Jones played well in his three starts for Alabama and showed he is a serviceable quarterback. But, as you are about to see, Young is just better in every way imaginable.
Ready to Roll
Throughout Bryce Young’s high school career, all he did was win and put up stats. What makes Young such a good player? In a word, everything.
The player Young is most often compared to is Russell Wilson. When I first saw that I thought to myself, how can a high school kid play like Wilson? However, it did not take long for me to come around on the Wilson comp.
The first thing that jumps out while watching Young is his mobility. Much like Russell Wilson, Young uses his mobility to keep plays alive behind the line of scrimmage. Young consistently evaded defenders in the backfield and moves out of pressure only to find open receivers down the field. In watching Young’s play this past season, it almost seemed that he was better when protection broke down and he was forced to make plays out of structure and on the move.
In the pocket
Though Young has incredible skills while on the move, he is equally dangerous in the pocket, showing great feel for the rush while in the pocket. And, he rarely leaves the pocket before he absolutely must. Even more impressive is his ability to keep his eyes downfield and find open receivers while facing pressure. This skill set will serve Young well in college, taking on the SEC’s quality defenses.
And, the most impressive part of Young’s game is his accuracy. Young consistently hits his receivers in stride. Young throws with great anticipation on short and intermediate throws, which constantly allows his receivers to gain yards after the catch. Even more impressive is Young’s deep ball. He has the arm to push the ball downfield and place deep throws in a spot only his receiver can catch it.
If all these tools were not enough, Young shows excellent football IQ and a knack for reading defenses. Put all of this together, and Young’s an exciting player who gets the ball into his playmakers’ hands. With the situation he is going to at Alabama, Young is going to be fun to watch and should become a star quickly.
Young and the Restless
So, the question then for us devy players is what to do with Bryce Young. According to devywatch.com’s ADP data, Young is coming off the board in devy drafts as the quarterback eight and 38.87 overall to date. Young is a steal at this price. It is only a matter of time before Young is setting college football on fire. His situation at Alabama and all his talents will give him success sooner rather than later.
Once Young takes hold of the offense at Alabama, his stock will sky-rocket. And, considering that he has an excellent chance to start as a freshman in 2020, you need to get him now. Young has the tools to beat defenses with his legs, arm, and head. The bottom line is that, come 2021, the Heisman hype train will be off the tracks. Young is going to be one of the top players off the board in devy drafts.
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