The defending Heisman Trophy winner says his faith is giving him purpose and peace as he prepares to lead No. 1 Alabama during his junior season.
Bryce Young guided the Crimson Tide to the SEC title and the College Football Playoff National Championship game in 2021 while becoming a runaway winner of the Heisman Trophy. Although Georgia edged Alabama during the national title game, Young and his team are ranked No. 1 heading into the 2022 season thanks to a core of returning players.
"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 for an episode that will be released on August 31. The Sports Spectrum website recently posted excerpts. "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."
Young has been outspoken about his faith since stepping onto the Alabama campus. His Twitter bio reads "Follower of Christ." A picture on his bio depicts a cross.
Last season, he referenced his faith during his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech.
"First and foremost, I'd like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him, I couldn't be here, and through Him, all things are possible," Young said before addressing his father and mother, who were in attendance.
He completed 68 percent of his passes for 4,322 yards with 43 touchdowns and just four interceptions during the regular season last year. Included in that was a last-minute, Heisman-worthy touchdown drive against Auburn that saved the Tide's championship hopes.
"There's a lot of excitement surrounding this year, this team," he told Sports Spectrum for the August 31 episode. "Obviously, it's a new group of guys. … [Head coach Nick Saban] has a very strict policy year to year that you're not entitled to anything, so right now, it's all of us individually proving ourselves, us pushing each other to get better."
Young and his teammates learned plenty of lessons during a 2021 season in which they finished 13-2, he said.
"I think the biggest thing that I took away – we took away as a unit – is that all things come to light," Young said. "I think there was a lot of shortcuts we were taking, a lot of stuff we weren't doing to our level, to our standard. A lot of little things that we should've ironed out that didn't really get ironed out. In the big moments throughout the season, I think all those little things got exposed."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox/Staff
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.