Alabama in Safe Hands in Life After Tua Tagovailoa
Bryce Young will battle for the Alabama starting QB job. (Twitter)
Quarterback Bryce Young has arrived at the Alabama Crimson Tide under the spotlight of a brilliant high school career and the weight of expectations to take the next step in his development in the college game. He was nothing short of spectacular, winning the Gatorade Football Player of the Year for California and the Los Angeles Times Player of the Year awards for his exploits at Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana).
Young will bring a talented skillset to Tuscaloosa where he will have to battle for the starting job with incumbent Mac Jones. Jones fared well in relief of Tua Tagovailoa last season, although the upside of Young will certainly favour the freshman, especially in the eyes of a demanding fanbase.
The Crimson Tide face a challenge to return to the top of the college game after failing to reach the postseason for the first time since the playoff system was implemented in 2015. Nick Saban‘s men are sure to be among the favourites in the American football betting odds for the College Football Playoff National Championship once the season comes round, although the Clemson Tigers among others will be ready and waiting.
A lot will hinge on what production Alabama gets out of the quarterback position. It could be Young’s time sooner rather than later.
What Are the Crimson Tide Getting in Young?
At 6 feet and 190 pounds, Young fits into the mould of the new generation of quarterbacks that are speedy and athletic rather than tall and immobile. Comparisons have been made to the style of Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and Arizona Cardinals’ Kyler Murray.
Perhaps more importantly for the Crimson Tide, Young fits the style of their former starter Tagovailoa with a solid deep ball and mobility to escape the pocket. If Young’s performances at Mater Dei are anything to go by he looks a better athlete than Tagovailoa with the ability to rush all over his opponents – notably in his outing against St. Frances Academy. Whether Young can sustain that standard at a high level remains to be seen, but he appears to have the attributes to become an immediate starter.
He will be aided by the excellence of the players around him. Najee Harris will be an NFL running back for a long time, dominating the college ranks. DeVonta Smith is also an NFL wideout in waiting and he will join his former teammates Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy in due course. With that talent around him, Young should be on the pathway to the professional ranks as well. However, his passing accuracy will need refining and he will face a baptism of fire in the SEC.
Projections for Fantasy Football
Young will be a dream for Fantasy owners when he makes the jump to the NFL. Mobile quarterbacks pick up points for rushing and passing, handing their owners that dual-threat to beat out their opponents. Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson had one of the best Fantasy seasons of all-time due to the brilliance of his MVP-winning 2019 campaign. The high end of Young’s potential could be of that calibre, although it does take a blend of all the right ingredients.
His rushing ability alone will not be good enough to rack up the points, placing emphasis on developing his throws downfield. The windows for receivers are wide in high school, narrower in college and minuscule in the NFL. It’s why the top Fantasy seasons by quarterbacks remain the domain of men who have pinpoint precision – Peyton Manning, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Quarterbacks are never usually taken in the first rounds of Fantasy drafts – even the great ones. For instance, Jackson is anticipated to be selected in the second round this year. That sort of standard could be one that Young could measure up to in four years when he will no doubt make the journey to the NFL.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
An integral part of my teenage years, Canadian hard rock band Coney Hatch got its start in 1982 and is somehow still at it today. One of its first singles, “Hey Operator,” was produced by Kim Mitchell and reached No. 19 in Canada.
Now it’s your turn. In the comments below, let us know how you think Alabama will do in this new era for the school.