The inevitable became official Monday when Alabama named Bryce Young the starting quarterback for Saturday’s game against No. 14 Miami.
A sophomore and former five-star prospect, Young last season was the backup to Mac Jones, who was selected by the New England Patriots in the first round of this year’s NFL draft.
As a freshman, Young played in nine games, including winning the national championship over Ohio State. All told, he completed 13 of 22 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown last season.
Over the course of the off-season, it became apparent that Young would be tagged as Jones’ successor. Alabama coach Nick Saban often praised Young and placed him on the first team strike in the spring game.
“Bryce did a good job,” Saban said Monday. “He is confident and accurate with the ball.”
Young even spoke to the media during fall camp, which is unusual because Saban typically doesn’t allow quarterbacks to speak publicly until after they’ve been named the starter. Young said playing behind Jones was a “huge learning experience” for him.
Young will make his first career start against Miami at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and will do so as one of the faces of players’ newfound ability to capitalize on their name, image and likeness.
According to sources, Young had already signed deals worth more than $800,000 by the end of July. Saban marveled at Young’s ability to close nearly seven-figure deals so quickly.
Preseason All-SEC tight end Jahleel Billingsley was not listed as the starter on the Week 1 depth chart. Billingsley and Major Tennison were listed as co-backs behind starting tight end Cameron Latu.
Saban picked Billingsley this off-season twice because in practice he didn’t do everything he had to do.
Saban also said backup linebacker Quandarrius Robinson has been suspended after a weekend arrest for drink-driving.