Some found it to be a rather odd decision for Bryce Young to play in Alabama’s “meaningless” Sugar Bowl. Others applauded the dedication to his teammates and the head coach, Nick Saban, who had helped to elevate him to his current status.
Whatever pundits wanted to call the decision for Young, it was another opportunity for the young quarterback. Despite his near consensus projection as the NFL’s No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming 2023 NFL draft, the Sugar Bowl gave him an opportunity to remind the entire country what he had to offer at the next level.
Young more than delivered in his final college contest.
He finished 15 of 21 for 321 yards and five touchdowns in a 45-20 stomping over the Big 12 champion Kansas State Wildcats. The game featured a host of NFL throws from the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner and highlighted his anticipation, touch, accuracy, and overall play making skills that have made him college football’s best over the past two seasons.
All five touchdowns went to five different receivers as Young made the most of what’s been a lackluster receiving core during the season. It was the kind of performance that will leave many wondering if the Crimson Tide should have faced Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinals.
However, for Houston, it left no question. The Texans have a clear choice to make should they find themselves with the first overall pick in the upcoming draft.
Young’s electric playing energy on the field and demonstrable leadership off the field look perfectly primed to elevate the Texans franchise. After officially losing their franchise quarterback via a trade with the Cleveland Browns, Houston finds themselves in the rare position to quickly move on.
Armed with Young, on a rookie contract no less, and all the capital gained from the trade with the Browns, general manager Nick Caserio may be poised to build a playoff team faster than anyone expected in Houston.
Make no mistake: Young is far from a perfect prospect. The next few months will feature a litany of conversation regarding the quarterback’s size and if his frame is built to last at the professional level. Saturday was still an important reminder of just how impressive the actual football player has been on the field.
With the sophomore slump of Davis Mills and the disappointing first campaign of Lovie Smith’s tenure, seeking an upgrade at the game’s most important position seems like an obvious solution.