Alabama QB Bryce Young wins 2021 Heisman

Alabama has another Heisman Trophy winner.

Unsurprisingly, Crimson Tide QB Bryce Young was named the winner of Heisman 2021 on Saturday. Young entered the ceremony as a big favorite following his performance in the SEC championship game. He was a finalist for the award alongside Pitt QB Kenny Pickett, Ohio State QB CJ Stroud and Michigan DL Aidan Hutchinson.

Hutchinson finished second ahead of Pickett and Stroud. Young got 684 votes for first place and had more than eight times more votes for first place than Hutchinson.

Young is 314 of 462 going through 4,322 yards and 43 TDs with just four interceptions in 12 games this season. Alabama are the first seeded in the College Football Playoff and play Cincinnati on New Year’s Eve at the Cotton Bowl.

Young, Alabama’s first QB to win the Heisman Trophy, was great in the SEC title game, throwing for 421 yards and three touchdowns in Alabama’s 41-24 win over Georgia. That win eliminated the Bulldogs from undefeated ranks and cemented Alabama’s place in the playoffs.

His performance in the SEC title game came a week after Young rebounded from a poor performance against Auburn to lead Alabama to a comeback win. Alabama led 97 yards for a decisive touchdown in the closing minutes of regulation on the way to a 24-22 win over Auburn in four overtime. Young and Alabama’s offense had been out of sync all afternoon, but he sidelined Auburn’s defense in the final drive of the fourth quarter to take the game into extra time.

Young set the pass record in an Alabama game on November 20 with 559 yards and five touchdowns against Arkansas. That was his second straight game with five touchdown passes after scoring 21 of 23 for 270 yards on an easy day’s work against New Mexico State a week earlier.

The Heisman 2021 race was wide open until Young moved up in the final weeks of the season. Stroud became the favorite when the Ohio State bout exploded in November before vanishing in the contest when the Buckeyes lost to Michigan in the final week of the season. A dominant performance in that win brought Hutchinson into the Heisman race.

Pickett, meanwhile, has firmly stepped into the fray to be the first QB selected in the 2022 NFL Draft with his performance this season. Pickett was 334 of 497 going through 4,319 yards with 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season for the Panthers to win their first ACC title.

Alabama has two Heisman winners

Young’s Heisman victory comes a year after Alabama wide receiver DeVotna Smith became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since Desmond Howard and his win means three schools have produced the last five winners of the ‘Heisman. LSU’s Joe Burrow won the 2019 award after Oklahoma quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray went back in 2017 and 2018.

The 2021 season was Young’s first as a starter. It was Mac Jones’ main backup in 2020 as Jones and Smith helped lead Alabama to a national title. Jones finished third in the Heisman vote to Smith and Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence in his only full season as starting QB in Alabama.

An Alabama QB has finished in the top three of the Heisman voting four times since 2013, and at least one Alabama player has finished in the top three in six of the past nine seasons.

Young is the fourth Heisman winner from Alabama since Nick Saban took over as head coach. Alabama and Oklahoma are now on par with four Heisman winners each since the turn of the century. The USC unofficially has three, although Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy in 2005 is officially listed as vacant.

Modern defensive history

Heisman revealed players who finished with 5-10 numbers in Thursday night’s voting and Alabama linebacker Will Anderson finished fifth. Anderson has 32.5 defeat tackles so far this season and had good reason to be a Heisman finalist.

Hutchinson and Anderson are the first two defenders to finish in the top five of the Heisman vote in 59 years. The last time two defenders made it into the top five was in 1962, when Minnesota’s Bobby Bell and Alabama’s Lee Roy Jordan finished third and fourth in the voting.

Heisman top 10

1. QB Bryce Young, Alabama

2. DL Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

3. QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt

4. QB CJ Stroud. State of Ohio

5. LB Will Anderson, Alabama

6. RB Kenneth Walker III, State of Michigan

7. QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss

8. QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

9. DL Jordan Davis, Georgia

10. RB Breece Hall, State of Iowa

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