One would think with 18 national championships and such quarterbacks as Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, Steadman Shealy, Walter Lewis, A.J. McCarron, Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones that one Alabama quarterback would have already won the Heisman Trophy.
But it has never happened. On Saturday, though, Alabama’s Bryce Young has more than a strong chance as he is favored by Fan Duel over Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. All four will be in New York City Saturday at the Lincoln Center for the ceremony (7 p.m. central, ESPN).
Young clearly looked the part in the then-No. 3 Crimson Tide’s nationally televised 41-24 upset of No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday on CBS. The sophomore from the Los Angeles area completed 26 of 44 passes for a championship game record 421 yards and three touchdowns.
No. 1 Alabama (12-1) will play No. 4 Cincinnati (13-0) in a College Football Playoff semifinal on Dec. 31 in Arlington, Texas, in the Cotton Bowl. The winner plays the winner of the other Dec. 31 semifinal in the Orange Bowl in Miami between No. 2 Michigan (12-1) and No. 3 Georgia (12-1) for the national championship on Jan. 10 in Indianapolis.
Young is No. 5 in the nation in passing efficiency on 314-of-462 passing for 4,322 yards and 43 touchdowns with four interceptions.
“To be a finalist for such a prestigious award, I feel truly blessed,” he said Tuesday on a teleconference. “It takes everyone for me to be able to have this opportunity.”
Young was one of five Alabama players to be named to the first unit of the All-SEC team on Tuesday as selected by the league coaches. Wide receiver Jameson Williams, tailback Brian Robinson Jr., outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. and safety Jordan Battle were the other four.
“I’m looking forward to the experience,” Young said. “I’m looking forward to being around everyone who’s up there. The whole experience itself, it’s invaluable. The opportunity to go to New York is something to hold onto for the rest of my life – all the experiences. So, I’m pretty excited.”
Young said he watched the Heisman Trophy ceremony as a 10-year old in in 2011 when quarterback Robert Griffin III of Baylor won it.
“First guy I remember seeing was RG III,” he said. “That makes me sound pretty young, probably. That’s when I started turning from just, ‘Oh, it’s a brown object going into the end zone’ to, ‘Oh yeah, this guy is throwing the football.’ I became more conscious of it.”
Anderson, who leads the nation in sacks with 15 and tackles for loss with 30, was considered a contender to be a finalist and be invited to New York with Young, but it didn’t happen.
“I’m just going to keep on rolling,” Anderson said. “Bryce is going to be there, so we’re straight.”