The No. 1 pick in this year's NFL Draft expressed gratitude to God and thankfulness to his family and friends Thursday night as he prepared to enter a new chapter in his life.
Bryce Young – the 2021 Heisman Trophy Winner and All-American quarterback at Alabama – was chosen No. 1 by the Carolina Panthers in Thursday's NFL Draft, making him the first No. 1 choice from Alabama in 75 years.
He threw 80 touchdowns and more than 8,000 yards during his three seasons with the Crimson Tide and guided his team to the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship game.
"It's a blessing," he told the NFL Network moments after being drafted. "I'm super grateful to be here. I'm super grateful for the blessings from God for allowing me to be here. I'm grateful for all the people that allowed me to do it. As amazing as this moment is – and I'm going to try to live in the moment – I can't wait to get to work tomorrow and start building off of that."
He added, "I'm gonna give it my all."
Young quickly became one of college football's best quarterbacks during his first season as a starter in 2021 and one of its most prominent players of faith. His Twitter bio includes a picture of an empty cross and describes him as a "follower of Christ." During Thursday's post-draft interviews, he used variations of "blessed" and "grateful" more than 20 times.
"I work to be the best version of myself that I can be and to embody Christ in all that I do," Young told the Sports Spectrum Podcast before the 2022 season. "So, for me, regardless of how someone else views me, whatever award, accolade, what someone may say … at the end of the day, what motivates me and pushes me is to model myself after the Lord."
At 5-foot-10, Young is shorter than many quarterbacks (Tom Brady, for example, is 6-foot-4). Even so, Carolina head coach Frank Reich said Young remains the best player in college.
"You just watch the tape. There's a lot said about the size," Reich said Thursday. "At the end of the day, there's a lot of factors that go into it. But we're coaches, we're scouts. We watch the tape. And when you watch the tape, Bryce Young's the best player."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/David Eulitt/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.