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Alabama has seen the narrative shift from “can’t produce quarterbacks” to becoming the new “QBU” with Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones all set to start during Week One of the NFL season.
With the success of that threesome, ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum spoke highly of sophomore Alabama dual-threat Bryce Young on Tuesday during an appearance on Keyshawn, JWill and Zubin.
“I think he has a chance to be in the same league,” Finebaum said. “Now, I’m taking a leap of faith right now Shae (Peppler Cornette), because all three of those … two have started in the NFL and one looks like he is headed to be a starter. So we’re talking about amazing talent, especially Tua (Tagovailoa), in terms of generational talent.
“And I think, based on what people say, based on those who have seen Bryce Young, he can be there. One thing about him that concerns a few people, we’ll have to see Saturday afternoon before we make too many other judgments, is he’s a little bit smaller. He is not a big guy. So that’s a concern that some people have.”
Young played sparingly during his freshman campaign last season under Jones, who went on to be drafted by the New England Patriots with the 15th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Young’s qualifications speak for themselves, as he was a five-star prospect in the 2020 recruiting class and the top-ranked dual-threat quarterback, according to 247Sports.
In nine appearances last season, the 6-foot-0, 194-pounder finished 13-of-22 passing for 156 yards and a touchdown. His size drew the concern of Keyshawn Johnson, which prompted Finebaum to explain how his size could come into play against the SEC’s best defenses.
“No, he barely weighs more than me, Keyshawn, which is saying something,” Finebaum said. “You’d have to explain better than I could how that is going to put him at a disadvantage. Now we certainly know what the disadvantage are 3-4 years from now when he gets to the league. In college football, you can get away with that a little bit more.
“However, when he goes up against Miami’s defense and Florida’s defense and Texas A&M and LSU, it could be a problem. But nobody is overly concerned about it right now. Nick Saban is as cool as I have seen him in a long time. It could be the fact that he’s got seven national championships in his back pocket. He’s about to turn 70 and he’s at the top of his game. But I think it’s something you have to discuss, at least until we see him play.”
Young will make his debut this Saturday against the Miami Hurricanes at 3:30 p.m. on ABC at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. According to FanDuel, the Crimson Tide are 18.5-point favorites on Saturday afternoon.