Alabama Crimson Tide: Bryce Young's father talks recruiting journey
Bryce Young, the nation's No. 1 dual-threat quarterback from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California, announced his commitment on Sunday to the University of Alabama. The decisions sent shockwaves throughout the recruiting world. His father, Craig Young, talks of the journey from the start of Alabama offering him a scholarship to his flip from USC after the official visit in Tuscaloosa.
"Alabama offered him (Bryce) when he was in 10th grade," Craig Young said. “Tosh (Lupoi) was still there. Bryce was still at Cathedral (in Los Angeles). We've always had a relationship with Alabama. Bryce went on an unofficial to Alabama at the end of his sophomore season.
"I remember Tosh always kept in touch. I believe (Dan) Enos then came in to see Bryce throw last year during the season. They have always been monitoring him. Once Sark (Steve Sarkisian) became the OC is when the contact really intensified."
The relationship between Coach Sarkisian and Bryce has been there for a long time. Many credit the longstanding connection to the reason why Young flipped to Alabama. The two have known each other, but the relationship didn't become serious until Coach Sark joined Alabama.
Coach Sark sold Alabama to Young and didn't negatively recruit against the former school where he spent years as a quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator and head coach.
"I think the previous relationship with Sark gets overblown sometimes," he said. "They know of each other. Bryce attended a camp or two when he was in 6th or 7th grade, and he also attended another satellite camp. Sark remembered him. He would pull him aside at those camps and was complimentary. I have a picture of them together when he was young. They didn't re-connect until after he became the OC at Alabama.
"I thought Sark did a fantastic job recruiting Bryce. He never negatively recruited or talked bad about USC. He was always very polite. He talked about all the things Alabama does well. He talked about what all he wants to do as an OC.
"He focused on the similarities in the offense Bryce runs at Mater Dei and what they do at Alabama. He sees Bryce making the same type of plays and throws. The transition will be good. Alabama is a complete offense. They don't just throw the ball 60 times a game. They use multiple formations and multiple protection schemes. It's a pro-style offense. It can help prepare him for the next level if he is fortunate enough."
The Youngs thoroughly enjoyed their first experience back to Alabama in almost two years. It's a much different setting coming from the City of Angels to T-Town and it couldn't have been any better.
"It was awesome," Young's father stated. "It's a little different coming from L.A. We loved just how genuine everyone was and how they all made us feel at home. The whole community embraces football- Alabama football specifically. The enormity of Alabama football and what it means to the community really stands out. To be able to be a part of it was very humbling.
"Besides the food, which was amazing, they played a song which included the phrase beat Auburn (Dixieland Delight). We loved that. We were also able to see the field from the top of the stadium, and we saw the players come off the bus as they entered the stadium. That was really nice to see."
Nick Saban may not be bombarded by the paparazzi or TMZ each time he leaves his home on Lake Tuscaloosa. He's still considered a rock star by many with six national championships and a statue outside of Bryant-Denny Stadium. He is a down-to-earth, charismatic person once you peel back a few layers. The Youngs learned much more about Coach Saban and his wife, Mrs. Terry, this past weekend.
"It's always a treat," Craig Young said. "You see them (Alabama) on TV all the time even on the west coast. After you get over being star-struck you learn a lot about Nick Saban. He is very funny. He is very insightful. Mrs. Terry (Saban) is so welcoming. She was everything we had previously heard. So much class and grace. We spent time with her during breakfast at the lake (Saban's home). It was such a great visit."
The decision to leave California to play attend school in the SEC isn't an easy one because of distance. The Youngs believe Alabama is the best opportunity for his future on-and-off the field. Bryce's father is proud of his son's decision and excited about the opportunity ahead.
"It is difficult with him being that far away," he said. "We know this is the best situation for him. He is excited. The best football team and best program in America is in Tuscaloosa. We want him to be the best, be with the best and surrounded by the best support system he can possibly have. He has all of that at Alabama. We are excited about his journey."