Why I Would Vote Bryce Young to Win 2021 Heisman Trophy

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2021

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws a pass against Auburn during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

Bryce Young took his sweet time. But in his absolute final chance to sway voters, the Alabama quarterback very likely secured the 2021 Heisman Trophy.

While leading the Crimson Tide to a 41-24 upset of top-ranked Georgia, he torched the best defense in the country. Young completed 26-of-44 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions, adding 40 rushing yards and a score.

The victory sealed Alabama's seventh SEC title of the last decade and seventh trip to the College Football Playoff. And it should be the crowning moment of his Heisman resume.

One thing is certain: Young would have my vote.

Entering the SEC Championship Game, Young held a tenuous grip on his status as the award's favorite. Had the Crimson Tide lost to Georgia, the most deserving candidates were teammate Will Anderson Jr. or Michigan edge-rusher Aidan Hutchinson. Young might've won anyway, but he would've joined the ranks of historical outliers.

In my estimation, neither Anderson nor Hutchinson left much margin for error last weekend.

Anderson padded his resume with a couple of tackles for loss and another sack. He leads the FBS in both categories. Hutchinson, meanwhile, added a sack and won Big Ten Championship Game MVP as Michigan locked up a spot in the CFP, too.

Now, reality didn't match my perception. It's a downright traveshamockery that Anderson, who has a preposterous 32.5 tackles for loss, didn't join Young and Hutchinson as a Heisman finalist. The others are Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Pitt signal-caller Kenny Pickett.

The proper choice, nevertheless, is Young.

Heading into bowl season, he holds top-six rankings nationally in passing yards per game (332.5), yards per attempt (9.4) and touchdowns (43). Young is also tied for the fewest interceptions (four) among players with at least 350 pass attempts.

Against four opponents currently in the Top 25the most accurate reflection of key gamesYoung averaged 10.1 yards per attempt with 14 total touchdowns and two turnovers.

Most notably, he shredded Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. But just two weeks earlier, Young also obliterated Arkansas with a program-record 559 yards and tossed five touchdowns. Alabama's last three contests featured his two best outings of 2021.

As the positive stats and performances headline his case, even Young's worst showings are hardly problematic.

Alabama lost to Texas A&M, yet Young finished with 369 yards, three touchdownsincluding a go-ahead score late in the fourth quarterand one interception. He struggled for three quarters at Auburn, but Young still led a game-tying 97-yard drive in the final minute of regulation before Bama won in overtime.

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

No other quarterback can match Young's combination of high-end production, consistency and team success.

Stroud came close, but Ohio State's defeat against Michigan stung his candidacy. Though he admirably moved past a slow September, that second loss effectively ended his hopes of winning.

Pickett is deservedly a finalist with 4,560 offensive yards, 47 total touchdowns and an ACC championship. However, it's hard to ignore losses to Western Michigan and Miamieven though he played wellstrictly in comparison to Young.

While I fully believe defenders merit more consideration for this honor, an elite QB with elite production on an elite team is always the most valuable player on the field. That leaves Young ahead of Anderson and Hutchinson, who would receive my second- and third-place votes, respectively.

Young, who can become Alabama's second straight Heisman winner, stood atop the race throughout the last two months. His final performance put an exclamation point on an excellent resume.

"Look, guys, I've seen a lot of good ones in this league," Georgia coach Kirby Smart told reporters after his team's loss to the Crimson Tide. "He's special."

Saturday night, that special quarterback deserves to be announced as the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner.


Stats from NCAA.com, cfbstats.com or B/R research. Follow Bleacher Report CFB writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.