Alabama starting quarterback and defending Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young says his Christian faith has kept him grounded amid victories and trials, knowing that no matter what happens in life, “God’s with me.”
The junior preseason All-American captivated the college football world in 2021 by passing for 4,872 yards and 47 touchdowns to lead the Crimson Tide to another SEC Championship and College Football Playoff appearance.
Those eye-popping stats helped him take home the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award as college football’s top player and the Davey O’Brien and Manning Awards as its top quarterback.
Young, though, says his accolades and preseason hype — Alabama is No. 1 heading into the 2022 season — are not the driving force in his life. That role belongs to his faith.
“I work to be the best version of myself that I can be and to embody Christ in all that I do,” Young said in a new interview with Sports Spectrum, a media company that spotlights Christian athletes. “So for me, regardless of how someone else views me, whatever award [or] accolade, what someone may say, negative or positive … at the end of the day, what motivates me and pushes me is to model myself after the Lord.”
Young has made faith part of his public identity since signing with Alabama as a five-star quarterback out of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California. The bios on his Instagram and Twitter accounts — which have a total of 250,000 fans — read “follower of Christ.”
In December he began his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech by referencing his faith.
“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,” he said on ESPN with millions of fans watching.
He said last December on his podcast, the Bryce Young Podcast, that he was “just speaking from the heart” during his Heisman speech.
His faith, he told Sports Spectrum, was instilled in him by his parents, Craig and Julie Young.
“It definitely goes to my roots. I’ve been based in faith. I’m blessed to have the family that … introduced me,” he said. “… Throughout my life, my relationship has grown with the Lord and my faith has improved.”
That relationship includes a pregame prayer with his parents. During high school, that pregame ritual often took place on the sidelines. In college, it often involves a phone call, sometimes on the Friday night before a game.
Prayer with his parents, he said, helps him calm anxious nerves.
“Emotions are high. You’re focused. And there’s a lot riding on you — you’re trying to lock in,” he said. “But (it’s critical) for me to kind of reassess, be grounded and be able to come together with my parents to kind of ground me and put me back in the mindset that I need to be. It was definitely huge.”
On the field this season, Young wants Alabama to iron out the flaws that he says a handful of teams “exposed.” Alabama plays its season opener Sept. 3 against Utah State at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Off the field, though, Young wants to mature in his faith and to become a better leader.
“God flows in everything that you’re doing, everything that you’re thinking, everything that goes on,” he said.
“I work hard and try to do my best to represent God through football. Whether it’s small things, big things, whatever it is, I understand that God’s with me.”