As Bryce Young prepares to take over Alabama’s offense as the starting quarterback in 2021, one former Crimson Tide signal-caller is hyped up about the dual-threat dynamo’s shot at the gig.
Greg McElroy started under center for Alabama across two seasons in 2009 and 2010, briefly played in the NFL and is now an analyst on the SEC Network. McElroy is among those who are buying into the Young buzz hard, per 247Sports’ Riley Gates:
“He’s a stud. And there’s no denying his pedigree, there’s no denying his physical attributes. The guy’s unbelievable. Can run around, can create, is accurate, and does a pretty good job of going through his progressions. You talk to anybody that was on that staff last year, they’ll tell you he has a really good foundational understanding of how to have his feet where they need to be, when they need to be there. So, he’s already far ahead of where he needs to be.”
Now, McElroy did acknowledge that Young has a tough act to follow in New England Patriots first-round pick Mac Jones, and said there is some uncertainty around the rising sophomore until he actually hits the field and shows.
All indications are that Young is poised to be a legitimate superstar and a potential Heisman Trophy contender right out of the gates, though.
Bryce Young has the skills to handle the elevated Alabama QB standard
When McElroy was at Alabama, he was asked to be a game manager, as the Tide leaned heavily on their rushing attack and sheer size up front. While that’s still a point of emphasis, the caliber of quarterbacks who’ve rolled through Tuscaloosa of late has been off the charts.
Jones exceeded the standard set before him by Tua Tagovailoa, which seemed almost impossible, and led Alabama to a national championship with an FBS-record 77.4% completion rate.
While it’s unreasonable to expect Young to complete throws at that clip, what he can do better than Jones and Tagovailoa is create plays with his legs. Young is a legitimate dual-threat quarterback, precisely the type of passer Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban has had nightmares trying to defend during his tenure.
No need to disrespect Jalen Hurts, but there’s no question Young is the highest-ceiling running QB Saban has ever had. Young was 247Sports’ second-rated prospect overall in the class of 2020 and the No. 1 dual-threat signal-caller.
In fact, Young, as a true freshman was thought to be a legitimate competitor to Jones for the starting job last season. Jones blew the doors off with the opportunity he earned, but that gave Young time to get his feet wet in limited action and see what it took to play at an historic level.
As a senior at the football powerhouse Mater Dei High School in California, Young averaged 348.3 yards passing per game, and had 58 touchdowns to six interceptions. He’s definitely a dynamic playmaker when he takes off to run, but Young has the savvy to stand in the pocket, deliver with accuracy and beat opponents with his arm first.
It’s championship-or-bust every year at Alabama. Young was fully aware of that when he committed to the Tide. Based on his recruiting profile and already-advanced skill set McElroy alluded to, if anyone can handle the weight of immense expectations, Young seems suited for it.