Bryce Young's allegiance to USC remains strong

May 9, 2019
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Mater Dei quarterback Bryce Young‍ is a national champion, 2018 All-CIF selection and 2020 All-American Bowl commit. Rated as 247Sports’ top-rated dual-threat quarterback for the class of 2020, Young is coming off a junior season in which he tossed for 3,846 yards and 39 touchdowns. The highly coveted quarterback committed to USC in July.

Despite the Trojans’ turbulent 2018 season and the coaching changes along the offensive side of the ball, Young’s allegiance to USC has remained strong.

“I have so much faith in the university and the coaches and the environment there that my confidence never really wavered,” he said. “I always knew that [USC’s] home for me and that’s where I felt most comfortable and where I wanted to be at the end of the day.”

Young fell in love with the environment at USC from the start of the recruiting process. Comfortability with the coaching staff, team and university informed his decision.

“The recruiting process is definitely a blessing but there’s a lot of aspects to it, a lot of behind the scenes stuff that outside people don’t really see as much,” Young said. “I was definitely happy when I was able to be able to end that recruitment and once I knew where I wanted to go I didn’t want to delay it any longer.”

After football, Young is motivated to become a sports broadcaster. It’s a goal he’s driven to accomplish, one he’ll pursue at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

USC’s 5-7 finish to the 2018 season had many calling for head coach Clay Helton’s job, buzz that Young was certainly aware of. Young was able to stay in constant communication with Helton through the noise and kept faith that USC would bring him back.

“I’m definitely glad he’s still there and I have a lot of confidence in him remaining there, that he’s going to turn things around this season,” he said.

As for offensive coordinator Tee Martin’s departure, Young was sad to see him go because of the great relationship the two shared. But, he was ecstatic with who the Trojans brought on board to lead the offense.

“Despite [Martin’s firing] happening, I still knew that USC was home for me and a place I wanted to be,” Young said. “With Coach Harrell being there now as offensive coordinator, it’s an amazing fit for me. I’m really happy with the situation that’s there now.”

USC initially hired Kliff Kingsbury to replace Martin as offensive coordinator, but Kingsbury left the program one month later to become the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Young was content with Kingsbury’s decision, acknowledging how rare of an opportunity it is for a college coach to be elevated as the head coach of an NFL team.

Young said, “It’s something you can’t pass up. That’s such an amazing, crazy opportunity and I’m extremely happy for him. I just congratulated him when he went. Also, I had faith that [USC] would be able to bounce back and hire someone, a great coach and they definitely did that with hiring coach Harrell.”  

In landing Harrell, the Trojans were able to begin integrating an “Air Raid” offense similar to Kingsbury's throughout spring ball. While at North Texas, Harrell led back-to-back top 25 offenses. Young predicts great things for Harrell’s system and expects USC to put up big numbers in 2019. Watching USC’s spring practices, he’s been impressed with how Harrell carries himself and is confident the Trojans will complete a quick turnaround.    

“The energy, the youth and the excitement [Harrell] brings to the offense is something that speaks for itself,” Young said. “It’s a tribute to Coach Harrell and the staff he brought with him, also how the players have adapted to it and embraced it. You can really see all these changes and see the positive effects it’s having on the team.”

A mobile quarterback with a cannon for an arm, Young sees himself thriving in Harrell’s system. Before transferring to Mater Dei, Young played two seasons at Cathedral High School (Los Angeles) under an offense similar to Harrell’s. He collected 3,431 passing yards and 41 passing touchdowns to go along with nearly 300 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns as a high school sophomore, leading Cathedral to a 10-2 record.

“It’s something that I enjoyed and to see that played out at a higher level, it was a system I’m comfortable in,” Young said. “To be able to go back to something like that being coached by Coach Harrell, the things he’ll teach me about the system and how to successfully navigate it is a challenge that I’m definitely looking forward to.”

Young will graduate early from Mater Dei after his senior season, allowing him to be on campus at USC for the 2020 spring.

“I have that planned in for my academics as far as leaving a semester early so that I can get there and get more acquainted, try to compete and be able to [get to] USC,” he said. “I’m not going to be doing it as early as JT [Daniels] did, I’m going to be playing my senior year. But, I’m definitely going to be there for spring ball next season.”

Speaking of JT Daniels, Young’s had a relationship with the Mater Dei alum and current Trojan for years. The two played together in middle school and Young replaced Daniels at Mater Dei after he left one year early to become USC’s 2018 starting quarterback.

“Especially with [Daniels] being at USC, he’s kind of been able to tell me some of the inside stuff and what it’s like to be there,” Young said. “He’s told me how much he’s enjoyed it and how much fun he’s having in it.”

In terms of recruiting other star high school players to USC, Young’s been hard at work.

“There’s group chats and definitely guys I’ve been talking [with] to show off how great of a university that USC is and the opportunities that it can provide for them,” he said.

He stays in the ears of both current and former Mater Dei teammates, including five-star LSU commit Elias Ricks and four-star recruit Darion Green-Warren. Ricks and Green-Warren both recently transferred from Mater Dei. Green-Warren is headed to Narbonne (Harbor City) and Ricks hasn’t announced where he’ll transfer to. Young’s also been in contact with four-star receivers Gary Bryant‍ (Corona Centennial), Logan Loya‍ (St. John Bosco), Lavon Bunkley-Shelton‍ (Junipero Serra) and Alabama-commit Traeshon Holden‍ (Narbonne).

“Traeshon Holden, me and him are definitely close,” Young said. “He just moved out here so I’ve been talking to him.”

During the craziness that comes with being a student athlete, weaving through recruiting and selecting a college, Young’s found inspiration in his father, Craig. The recruiting process was an interesting challenge for Young, as he dealt with coaches wanting him and all that comes with it. Bryce turned to his father for guidance and Craig has been able to keep him grounded.

“He’s been involved throughout all my life,” Young said. “That’s more than a lot of people can say. I’m definitely blessed to have someone like him in my life and he’s also been a great mentor and guide for me.”

Bryce’s journey has been surreal for Craig. He’s needed to pinch himself at times, knowing his son’s aspirations of playing football at the next level are coming into fruition.

“Not for a second do we ever take it for granted and we realize the blessing of it,” he said. “But also, we have to also understand that there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors and a lot of it is artificial and that you can’t really fall in love with the process of being recruited and coveted and all that stuff because it gives you a false sense of security and also breeds complacency.”

Craig has instilled in Bryce to be appreciate and respectful of the attention, but to not be consumed by it or let it overtake his love for the game and desire to improve.

He added, “To have [Bryce] play at a school like USC is just a blessing because USC is more than just a football program, historic football program. It’s a great academic institution, in a great city with a great alumni base. Even though I’m a UCLA grad, I completely appreciate and respect what a great university USC is and what a blessing it is to play there.”

On and off the field, Bryce is driven by his faith, above all else.

“I just to try to please God and be the best person I can be, be the most humble person I can be off the field,” Young said. “At the end of the day, that’s really what’s important.”

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