Back-to-back: Young gives Alabama consecutive Heisman wins

NEW YORK, (AP) -- Bryce Young did more than meet the standards set by his predecessors at Alabama. He exceeded them and gave the Crimson Tide a rare Heisman-to-back.

12 December 2021 Sunday 11:22
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Back-to-back: Young gives Alabama consecutive Heisman wins

Young was the first Tide quarterback ever to win the Heisman trophy on Saturday night. This made Alabama the fifth consecutive winner of the most prestigious college football player of the year award.

Young was dressed in black and a sparkling diamond necklace around his neck as he began his acceptance speech.

He thanked Craig, his father, for being his "best buddy," Julie, his mother for "always having mine back," and his offensive line of "protecting" him.

Young was awarded 684 first-place votes, 2,311 points, and easily beat Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (78.954) to become the third Heisman runner up and first since Notre Dame linebacker Manti T'o in 2012.

Third was Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (28, 631) and C.J. Stroud (12.399) was fourth. Will Anderson Jr., Alabama linebacker (31, 325) was fourth. This made it five defensive players to make the top five since 1962.

Young was named seventh among the 87 Heisman winners, 83% of the total points being awarded to him, one year after DeVonta Smith, his former teammate. He was also named on 90% of ballots, which is the seventh highest Heisman history.

Young has passed for 4,322 yards this season and 43 touchdowns, helping No. 1 Alabama win the Southeastern Conference title. He also helped earn a spot in College Football Playoff. The national champion Crimson Tide will face No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl on December 31st.

Young is Alabama's fourth Heisman Winner, and all of them under Nick Saban. Only four schools have won more: Notre Dame (Ohio State), Oklahoma, Oklahoma, and Southern California have each won seven.

Other schools that have Heisman winners in consecutive year are Yale (1936-37), Army (45-46), Southern California (2004)-05 -- although Reggie Bush's 2005 win was later vacated -- as well as Oklahoma (2017-18).

Alabama's first Heisman winner was Derrick Henry (2015) and Mark Ingram (running back) in 2009. Smith, a receiver, was the No. 3.

It was only a matter time before a Tide quarterback brought one home. Saban's Alabama dynasty evolved into QB U.

Young, a sophomore took over the starting position held by Mac Jones last season and Tua Tagovailoa two years prior. After being selected in round one of the draft, both are now starting in the NFL.

Young stated that understanding the tradition of the quarterback and the standard of being a quarterback at Alabama was important to him. Young said, "It was important that I live up to that, that standard."

In 2018, Tagovailoa finished second in the Heisman voting behind Oklahoma's Kyler Murphy. In 2019, Tagovailoa placed 10th, a result that was cut short by injury.

Jones posted even higher numbers than Tagovailoa, but he settled for third in Heisman voting, behind Smith and Trevor Lawrence, Clemson's quarterback.

Young, a five-star Southern California recruit, was Jones' lightly-used back-up last season.

Young was inexperienced as he led an offense that had to replace a mountain of NFL talent. Young didn't have the luxury of learning the job.

Saban stated that "a lot of the teams we've had are older, with many really good players, and the quarterback didn’t have to be the focal point this year that Bryce needed to be on the team this year."

Young proved immediately that he was capable of the task. Young's debut against Miami saw him throw for 344 yards and four touchdowns, but it was his finish that earned him the Heisman.

As November approached, the race seemed to be open for all. Kenneth Walker from Michigan State, who came in sixth place, Stroud, and Anderson were all briefly at the top of the leaderboards.

Young led Alabama to a game-tying touchdown drive of 97 yards against Auburn on Thanksgiving weekend. He overcame what had been one of his worst games and delivered when it was most important.

He said, "In some ways, you could say that I was more nervous today than before the drive against Auburn), since so much of it is beyond your control."

Young might have the strongest quality of Young's confidence, even if he is not a strong person.

Craig Young, his father, stated earlier this week that "that's just always existed." It's simply the ability to remain calm in chaos and not see it as chaos.

Bryce Young continued his clutch performance in Iron Bowl with another masterpiece. Young passed for a record 421 yard SEC championship game and the Crimson Tide shredded Georgia's famed defense in a victory of 41-24.

Saban stated, "He was amazing down the stretch."

Young was able to help Alabama achieve another milestone, the Heisman race.



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