Crimson Tide five-star freshman QB adjusts to college life

Invision photo by Andy Kropa via AP / Bryce Young attends the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Awards at the Ziegfeld Ballroom on Dec. 9, 2019, in New York.
photo AP photo by Scott Varley / Mater Dei quarterback Bryce Young is tackled after scrambling out of the pocket during a high school game against St. John Bosco in Bellflower, Calif. Young signed with Alabama and enrolled early this year to get a jump on his college career and try to gain a foothold in the Crimson Tide's quarterback competition.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Aside from being 2,000 miles away from his home in Southern California, the most challenging part of Alabama freshman quarterback Bryce Young's transition to college was dealing with two straight weeks of rainy weather in Tuscaloosa this winter.

They don't get that in Pasadena.

Otherwise, he's been too busy to be homesick.

"For me at least, football kind of takes a lot of time," Young said Friday at the Maxwell Awards news conference at a New Jersey casino. "Football and the stuff that comes with it - school and making sure I'm on top of that stuff and going to tutoring - it's not a lot of time we're just sitting around and wondering, 'Oh, what am I going to do in Tuscaloosa?'

"You're always working. You're always doing something."

Young, who was honored as the national high school offensive player of the year, was a five-star recruit at California powerhouse Mater Dei, which has produced future college stars such as Matt Barkley and Matt Leinart.

Young was verbally committed to follow Barkley and Leinart's path and attend the University of Southern California. With the Trojans struggling and the future of coach Clay Helton uncertain for much of last fall, Young changed his mind and decided to go to Alabama. It just so happens the Tide will kick off their 2020 schedule against USC at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

photo Invision photo by Andy Kropa via AP / From left, college football recruit Bryce Young, U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe and high school soccer standout Ally Sentnor attend the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Awards at the Ziegfeld Ballroom on Dec. 9, 2019, in New York.

The standout quarterback enrolled early to get a jump-start on his college career and have a chance to win the starting job as a freshman. The Tide begin spring practices March 13 and will hold their A-Day spring game April 18 at Bryant-Denny Stadium, and Mac Jones is the presumptive No. 1 quarterback.

Jones took over behind center last season as a redshirt sophomore when starter Tua Tagovailoa was injured. Jones played in 11 games, starting four, including the regular-season finale loss to Auburn and the Citrus Bowl victory over Michigan. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder from Jacksonville, Florida, passed for 1,503 yards and 14 touchdowns with three interceptions, completing 69% of his passes.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Young will step into the competition ready to learn and contribute.

"Really for me, it's just whatever the coaches ask of me. I'm just trying to get better and push myself to be the best I can," said Young, who noted Alabama provides seemingly endless support to help get new players up to speed.

"Really, when you go to college, I feel like there's so much more resources to kind of help you with that," he added. "There's GAs (graduate assistant coaches) to kind of help you with that when the coaches are busy and not around. There's film rooms you can go to. And there's the dining hall that's there for every meal."

Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson, who was in Atlantic City to attend Friday night's awards banquet, expects Young to make a smooth transition to college.

"He's comfortable on the field as a competitor," Rollinson said. "He's so giving and so poised. He's comfortable behind a mic. He's comfortable with younger kids who look up to him. It all comes from his parents and comes from the fact that he has tremendous self-confidence. It's amazing to me."