As dominant as Alabama has been under Nick Saban for the past 14 seasons, the arrival of game-changing quarterbacks has only been a recent development in its crimson-hued dynasty.
Before Saban adapted the modern college football offense with offensive coordinators Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, his teams relied on a slow pace, strong running game, and absolute control of time of possession. It was quarterbacks John Parker Wilson, Greg McElroy and AJ McCarron who led Alabama’s offenses, apparently long before Blake Sims, Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa changed the game forever.
How the times change.
MORE: How Mac Jones went from being Tua Tagovailoa’s endorsement to Heisman finalist
The latest in that distinguished line is Mac Jones, who in 2020 has put together one of the best singles seasons in Alabama quarterback history. The unannounced signal caller leads the nation in completion percentage (77.0), yards per attempt (11.3) and has set the NCAA record for passer rating (203.0), one point higher than LSU’s Joe Burrow ( 202.0) and 3.6 points higher than Jones’ predecessor, Tagovailoa (199.4).
He did it while throwing for 4,036 yards and 36 touchdowns, both good for second place nationally, and all in 12 games. For his efforts, Jones finished third in the Heisman Trophy vote and won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm and Davey O’Brien awards.
However, as good as he is, many who follow the Crimson Tide program think that his backup, Bryce Young, will be better. The true freshman hasn’t had many opportunities to contribute to Alabama’s incredible offensive season in 2020, but he has shown flashes of brilliance by completing 13 of 22 passes for 156 yards and a landing.
Here’s everything you need to know about Young, who is shaping up to be a key figure in Alabama’s quarterback competition in 2021 and beyond:
Young is tied for the highest-rated recruit in Saban’s history
Saban has secured just three five-star quarterbacks in his time as Alabama’s coach: Phillip sims, the No. 1 pro-style quarterback and the No. 31 player overall in the class of 2010; Blake barnett, the No. 2 pro-style quarterback and the No. 6 player overall in the class of 2015; and Tagovailoa, the No. 1 double-threat quarterback and the No. 32 player overall in the 2017 class.
Young, tagged as double threat, was the No. 1 quarterback overall regardless of style in the 2020 class, and his No. 2 player overall.
Based on 247Sports composite rankings, Young is tied for 20th on the all-time recruiting service boards; It has a rating of .9994 out of a possible 1.0. He is tied with Alabama offensive linemen Andre Smith (2006) and Cyrus Kouandjio (2011) for Saban’s highest-rated pick of all time.
Despite his label, Young considers himself more of a traditional quarterback.
“People in (the NFL), the Lamar Jacksons, Kyler Murrays, the Baker Mayfields, people like that are really pushing the envelope of what double threat means,” Young said in a 2019 interview with USA Today High School Sports. “People think that a dual threat is someone who can, a runner who can throw a little … but actually a dual threat should mean, and in my opinion, it means someone who has the ability to do both. Like extend plays and run the ball, but he’s still a passer. “
Young comes from a school with an impressive lineage QB
Young was a prolific high school career: Based on his Alabama football bio, he threw for 13,250 yards and 152 touchdowns (to just 18 interceptions) and rushed for 1,084 rushing yards and 26 more touchdowns, accounting for 178 touchdowns at school. high school. Tagovailoa had 8,158 passing yards and 84 touchdowns at Saint Louis School (Honolulu), adding 1,727 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns for 111 touchdowns in high school.
That Young could put together that line of statistics is impressive. That he could do that at Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, California) makes it amazing. The school has been a factory for quarterbacks, producing such talents as Todd Marinovich, Matt Leinart, Matt Barkley, John Huarte and JT Daniels.
Among that group, Young ranks first all-time in passing yards, passing completion percentage (70.6) and second in passing touchdowns.
He played against the best high school talent in the country.
Young played with some of the best teams and defenders in the country at Mater Dei. The 2020 Army All-American Bowl MVP played against teams like Centennial (Peoria, Arizona) and St. Frances Academy (Baltimore).
That includes a future Clemson engagement in DJ Uiagalelei, who faced Young in the 2019 Division 1 California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section championship game. In that game, Uiagalelei led St. John Bosco (Bellflower). , California) from a 28-5 deficit to a 39-34 victory over Mater Dei. Young threw for 405 yards and five touchdowns in that game, but also three interceptions and one fumble late in the game.
Can we expect those two to meet a couple of times in college?
Young almost committed to USC
Mater Dei has long been a quarterback channel for the Trojans program; It was much the same for Young, who was committed to USC for 14 months before changing his commitment to Alabama in September 2019. He was steadfast in his commitment to the Tide once it changed, and remains an attractive piece for the future. offensive team.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.