ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Aside from being 2,000 miles away from his home in Southern California, the most challenging part of Alabama freshman quarterback Bryce Young's transition to college was dealing with two straight weeks of rainy weather in Tuscaloosa this winter.
They don't get that in Pasadena, California. Otherwise, he's been too busy to be homesick.
“For me, at least, football kind of takes a lot of time,” Young said Friday at the Maxwell Awards news conference at a New Jersey casino. Young was honored as the national high school offensive player of the year.
“Football and the stuff that comes with it — school and making sure I’m on top of that stuff and going to tutoring — it’s not a lot of time we’re just sitting around and wondering, ‘Oh, what am I going to do in Tuscaloosa?'" he said. "You’re always working. You’re always doing something."
Bryce Young was a five-star recruit at California powerhouse Mater Dei High School, which has produced stars such as Matt Barkley and Matt Leinart.
Young was verbally committed to follow Barkley and Leinart's path and attend USC. With the Trojans struggling and the future of coach Clay Helton uncertain for much of last fall, Young changed his mind and decided to go to Alabama. The Crimson Tide opens the 2020 season against USC at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
He enrolled early to get a jump start on his college career and a chance to win the starting job as a freshman. Mac Jones enters spring practice in Tuscaloosa as the presumptive No. 1 quarterback. The rising junior took over as the starter last season when Tua Tagovailoa was injured.
Jones played in 11 games, starting four, including the regular-season finale loss to Auburn and the Citrus Bowl victory over Michigan. He passed for 1,503 yards and 14 touchdowns with three interceptions, completing 69% of his passes.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Young will step into the quarterback competition ready to learn and contribute.
“Really for me it’s just whatever the coaches ask of me. I’m just trying to get better and push myself to be the best I can,” Young said.
He said Alabama provides seemingly endless support to help get new players up to speed.
“Really when you go to college I feel like there’s so much more resources to kind of help you with that,” Young said. “There's GAs (graduate assistant coaches) to kind of help you with that when the coaches are busy and not around. There’s film rooms you can go. And there’s the dining hall that’s there for every meal.”
Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson was in Atlantic City to attend Friday night's awards banquet. Rollinson said expects Young to make a smooth transition to college.
“He's comfortable on the field as a competitor,” Rollinson said. "He's so giving and so poised. He's comfortable behind a mic. He's comfortable with younger kids who look up to him. It all comes from his parents and comes from the fact that he has tremendous self confidence. It's amazing to me."
Others honored by the Maxwell Football Club were player of the year Joe Burrow and coach of the year Ed Orgeron of LSU; Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, who won the Bednarik Award as college football's defensive player of the year; Clemson freshman defensive end Bryan Bresee, the national high school defensive player of the year; and Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, who was receiving the Tropicana Legends Award.
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