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NFL Draft Rewind: No. 1 Bryce Young

Bryce Young
Bryce Young (© Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports)

The NFL Draft kicks off with its opening round on April 27 in Kansas City, so starting today Rivals will take a look back at its projected first-round picks when they were high school prospects. We begin with our projected No. 1 – quarterback Bryce Young of Alabama, who was the No. 2 overall high school prospect in the 2020 class.


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NO. 1: QB Bryce Young, Alabama

Where they were ranked: The Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei five-star quarterback finished as the second-best prospect in the 2020 class behind only Clemson defensive line signee Bryan Bresee.

Recruitment: After being committed to USC for more than a year, Young flipped his pledge to Alabama following an official visit to Alabama in September of his senior season. Young had developed a strong relationship with then-offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and the flip had been rumored for months. Will Anderson, a potential top first-round draft pick, was also a five-star in that Alabama 2020 class.

Biggest question: Size was the biggest question in high school and heading to the SEC but Young has answered that concern for years. The real issue could be durability taking hits from NFL defensive linemen since he would be the lightest QB taken in the first round in 20 years. Still, Young has proven over the years not to engage in big hits, he knows how to not be a big target and he has a great feel for pressure coming his way.

Memories: Young received his first offer in eighth grade after working out at Texas Tech in front of then-coach Kliff Kingsbury, a sign of just how quickly things change in the college football landscape. From Pasadena, Calif., Young grew up a USC fan and he committed to the Trojans in the summer before his junior season. It looked like it would stick but Alabama never stopped recruiting him and after taking a visit there – and hitting it off with Sark over the years – a flip to the Crimson Tide happened.

A transfer from Los Angeles Cathedral to Santa Ana Mater Dei, Young was a regular on the camp and 7-on-7 circuit, never backing down from competition and showing up to events all over the country. He was also always at Rivals Camp Series events looking to prove that, despite his diminutive size in high school, he was an elite player. Young proved it time and again.

Size was always the concern about making him a five-star quarterback but after seeing him dominate consistently, it was impossible to hold back that ranking. Looking back, it should have happened sooner.

When Mater Dei hosted powerhouse Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances in Young’s senior season, he completely torched a defense that was led by fellow Alabama signee Chris Braswell and LSU signee Jordan Toles.

Coming up in the Southern California quarterback scene in the same recruiting class, there was a debate between Young and Clemson signee D.J. Uiagalelei until the end, especially since Uiagalelei had the bigger arm and the then-prototypical NFL size.

But Young was so much more advanced and so incredibly patient and decisive in everything he did, he ended up ahead of Uiagalelei in the rankings. It proved to be the right decision. Even at No. 2 overall, though, he might have been one spot too low.