For the second consecutive season, the Alabama Crimson Tide has a player that has won the Heisman Memorial Trophy. Sophomore quarterback Bryce Young has been a player that Alabama could rely on from the beginning of the season. Unlike last year’s winner in wide receiver DeVonta Smith, Young has been a player that the Tide needed a Heisman-worthy performance from week to week to win their games. Young’s weekly performance has more than made him the clear favorite for Heisman Trophy in Saturday’s presentation. He had some heavy contenders as finalists for the Heisman in Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud, and Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett. In the end, it was a clear choice that Young was the right choice as the next recipient for the Heisman Trophy after a stellar and nearly impossible season.
This season was not an easy road for Young to go from a first-year starter to becoming the next Heisman winner. There is a clear difference from last year’s dominant Alabama team to this year’s program that needed multiple stellar performances from Young and outside linebacker Will Anderson to get some wins. Alabama needed stellar performances from Young to beat LSU, Arkansas, and Auburn to escape the upsets. Young has been the first player for Alabama to carry the Tide to big wins and become a Heisman winner since Derrick Henry. He is the fourth Alabama player to win the Heisman and bring the Tide to the National Championship contention.
Bryce Young was the clear choice for the Heisman Trophy
Alabama Continues to Build a Dynasty Within the Program
Young was a serious contender for the Heisman Trophy throughout the season, but he became a clear favorite at the beginning of November. Young has Heisman moments in games against LSU, Arkansas, and Auburn, making him a favorite. His performance in the 2021 SEC Championship game against the #1 Georgia Bulldogs would be the ultimate decider for the award overall. Young had a performance of a lifetime against the historically great defense of Georgia that ranked first in the nation in points allowed per game and total yards allowed yards per game. Against the Bulldogs, Young threw for 26-of-44 completions for 421 yards, three touchdowns, and a QBR of 98. He also rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown on three carries. Young would lead a shocking, dominant 41-24 over Georgia to their third conference championship in program history.
Young’s dominance and fantastic performance throughout the season have made the voters easily convinced of the Heisman. Young threw for 4,322 yards (fourth in the nation), 43 touchdowns (second-most), and a QBR of 88.9 (second-most). Young has a higher completion rate, more touchdowns, and more yards than Pickett, who has been playing in an air raid-style offense. He has more yards and touchdowns than Stroud, who has consistent weapons at his disposal. Alabama has not had as many elite weapons in the past couple of seasons, including last season with Smith as the Heisman winner as an example.
Bryce Young Becomes First Alabama Quarterback to Win the Heisman
Alabama has never had a Heisman Trophy winner before Nick Saban became head coach. The Tide now has four winners as Young is the first player to win the award as a quarterback. Alabama has had a rich history of dominant players as they have had 11 players of Heisman finalists. There is a serious discussion that Anderson should have been a finalist. Alabama now has four players that won the award, one of five teams with more than three winners.
Alabama has had a quarterback that finished in the top ten of the Heisman race in the past three years. Mac Jones finished third in last year’s race, and Tua Tagolvailoa finished second in the 2018 race. If Alabama were led by another quarterback throughout the season, Alabama would not be in the discussion for the playoff. Young is the clear answer with his playmaking ability and leadership.