First Quarterback in Alabama History to Win Award
On Saturday, December 11, 2021 Southern California native and Pasadena resident, Bryce Young became the 87th recipient of the coveted Heisman Trophy. Young, who was a standout quarterback at Mater Dei High School before taking his talents to the vaunted Alabama Crimson Tide, is the 3rd Heisman Trophy winner from Mater Dei, following behind Matt Leinert (2004) and John Huarte (1964), but he is the first African American in Mater Dei’s history to win the coveted award.
Young, by all accounts from everyone who knows him is a very kind and humble young man. As he stepped to the podium to receive the award, he began his speech by thanking his “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” and then his parents, Craig and Julie, and the rest of his family, his teammates, and his coaches.
Young, who led Alabama to victory in the SEC Championship earlier this month, won the Heisman by the seventh-largest margin in the trophy’s history. He is the first Alabama quarterback to win the award.
“For me, I’ve always been someone who’s been labeled as not the prototype,” Young said during his Heisman speech. “Being an African American quarterback and being quote-unquote undersized and noting being that prototype, I’ve always been ruled out and counted out.
“People, a lot of times, have told me that I wasn’t going to be able to make it. For me, it’s always been about not really proving them wrong but proving to myself what I can accomplish. I always push myself to work the hardest, and I try my best to do all I can to maximize what I can do. Through the people around me and the grace of God, I’ve been able to make it here. I’m truly grateful for that,” Young stated during his Heisman speech.
Young acknowledged his hometown of Pasadena. As a youth, young participated in a number of local Pasadena youth leagues, including the Brotherhood Sports Program, as well as the Basketball Training Institute which is held at the Boys and Girls Club on Fair Oaks Avenue. In acknowledging his hometown in his speech, the 2021 Heisman winner stated, “I’d like to thank my city, Pasadena, for molding me into the young man I am, and for the community for always showing support,” Young said.
Along with the Heisman Trophy earlier in the week, Young was named The Associated Press Player of the Year. He also took home the Maxwell Award (player of the year) and the Davey O’Brien Award (Best Quarterback).
Young follows former Alabama receiver, DeVonta Smith, who took home last year’s Heisman Trophy. The Crimson Tide is just the fifth program to produce consecutive winners, joining Oklahoma (Baker Mayfield 2017, Kyler Murray 2018), Ohio State (Archie Griffin 1974-75), Army (Doc Blanchard 1945, Glenn Davis 1946) and Yale (Larry Kelley 1936, Clint Frank 1937). Southern California had back-to-back winners with Matt Leinhart and Reggie Bush in 2004 and 2005 respectively, but Bush’s award was vacated for violating NCAA rules.
Young ran away with this year’s award, receiving 2,311 total voting points and 78 first-place votes. Michigan defensive end, Aiden Hutchinson was second with 954 votes, followed by Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett with 631, and Ohio State quarterback, C.J. Stroud with 399. Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. finished fifth in the voting with 325 points but had the third most first-place votes with 31.
Young passed for 4,322 yard and 43 TDs this season leading the Crimson Tide to the top spot in the College Football Playoffs (CFP).
At just 20-years-old, Young is Alabama’s fourth Heisman winner.