By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Bryce Young isn’t even eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft, but his gridiron achievements certainly are pro-worthy.
The Alabama quarterback became the fifth sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy, college football’s most outstanding player award.
Young, 20, also becomes the first Crimson Tide quarterback to win the Heisman, and it marks the second consecutive year an Alabama player has won the award.
“I’ve always been labeled as someone who’s not the prototype, being an African-American quarterback and being quote-unquote undersized and not being that prototype, I’ve always been ruled out and counted out,” Young stated during his acceptance speech.
The six feet and 194-pound field general has thrown for more than 4,300 yards this season with a 68 percent completion rate.
During the 2021 season, Young has passed for 43 touchdowns with just four interceptions, and he enjoys a 175.5 passer rating.
“People a lot of times have told me that I wasn’t going to be able to make it,” Young exclaimed.
“And for me, it’s always been about not really proving them wrong but proving to myself what I can accomplish. So, I’ve always pushed myself to work the hardest, and I try my best to do all I can to maximize all that I can do. And thanks to the people around me and through the grace of God, I’ve been able to make it here, and I’m truly grateful for that.”
Young led the Crimson Tide to a 12-1 record, including an explosive 41-24 victory over then No. 1 ranked Georgia in the SEC Championship.
Young broke the single game passing record, 559 yards against No. 22 Arkansas, and shattered SEC Championship record for total offense and passing yards after going 26 of 44 for 421 yards and three touchdowns during his first year as a starter.
Bryce is the 8th African American quarterback to win the award. Andre Ward was the first in 1989. Since 2010, 6 of the 10 quarterbacks selected to win the Heisman are African American.
Tim Tebow (Florida 2007), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma 2008), Mark Ingram Jr. (Alabama 2009), and Lamar Jackson (Louisville 2016) are the only other sophomores to win the Heisman in the award’s 86-year history.
Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M 2012), and Jameis Winston (Florida State 2013), are the only freshmen to win the award.
“The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) profoundly congratulates Bryce Young, the African American star quarterback of the University of Alabama, for winning the Heisman Trophy,” NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., stated.
“Young’s outstanding achievement on the football field epitomizes the genius and excellent talent of African American athletes in all sports,” Dr. Chavis declared.