There have been three Alabama players who have won the coveted Heisman trophy, all with Nick Saban as head coach. Running backs Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry won the award in 2009 and 2015, while wide receiver DeVonta Smith became the first Alabama wide receiver to take home the award in 2020.
Alabama has had a run of success rarely seen before in collegiate athletics, especially considering the difficulties of modern day college football. Since Saban took over as head coach in 2007, the Crimson Tide have won a ridiculous six national championships. And yet, not once has a Saban-coached quarterback won college football’s most prestigious award.
Until Saturday night, that is.
Alabama sophomore quarterback Bryce Young became the 2021 Heisman trophy winner Saturday night, beating out Michigan defensive end Aiden Hutchinson, Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett, and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud.
On Thursday, Young won the Maxwell Award — given to the player of the year in college football — and now becomes just the second sophomore to take home the Heisman, along with making Alabama just the sixth school in college football history to have back-to-back Heisman trophy winners.
“Whenever you can win an award like this, it goes as an individual award, but it’s a team award,” Young said. “Because I couldn’t do it without any of those guys. I am one who has been labeled as not the prototype, being an African-American quarterback and being undersized. It wasn’t about proving them wrong, but proving to myself what I can accomplish.”
In his first season as a starter, Young led Alabama to the SEC crown, and now has his team ranked number one in the country, favored to win Saban’s eighth national title. In a year in which a Heisman favorite took months to materialize, it was Young’s performance to close out the season that won him the award.
Alabama faced a seven-point deficit entering the fourth quarter of their final regular season game against in-state rival Auburn, only for Young to drive his team down the field for the tying score with 0:24 seconds remaining. Young’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Corey Brooks sent the game into overtime, where Alabama found a way to win in four overtimes.
The following week, Young cemented his Heisman case.
Against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, Young torched an historically great Bulldogs defense, throwing for 421 yards and three touchdowns in a dominant 41-24 Alabama win. In the romp, Young had multiple “Heisman moments,” none more impressive than his third quarter dime to Jameson Williams.
Bryce Young opens the second half with a DIME to Jameson Williams 🎯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 4, 2021
“If you watched the game, if you’ve been watching the whole season, ain’t nobody else coming close to him,” Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. said following Alabama’s SEC Championship win. “He should win it. The voters can see that. Everybody can see that. Bryce should win the Heisman this year.”
Young finished the season with 4,322 passing yards, 43 touchdowns, and just four interceptions.
Hutchinson finished second — the second-highest finish for a defensive player since Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o in 2012 — with Pickett and Stroud coming in third and fourth place.
No. 1 Alabama will play No. 4 Cincinnati in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on December 31st with a chance to advance to the national championship game.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected]
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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