Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with one of the nation’s top defensive ends.
Byron Young still high on Alabama
Byron Young’s career path was decided shortly after getting hit with a helmet directly on his knee that caused a bone to chip back in the seventh grade. Young didn’t think much of the injury. It hurt, but he pushed through the pain.
It wasn’t until basketball season the next year when he realized that the knee injury sustained the prior year was more serious than originally thought. His older brother noticed that Young wasn’t running as fast as he usually did. That’s when the family decided to see a doctor, who diagnosed the injury as a chipped bone.
Young, a 4-star defensive end from West Jones High School (Laurel, Miss.), had surgery on his knee and the recovery process took eight months. But during that time recovering, he realized that studying kinesiology is what he wanted to do with his life.
“I want to help people recover from injuries,” Young told SEC Country. “When I had an injury, people were always there for me and it really helped me get back to 100 percent.”
After the injury, Young didn’t get back on a football field until his 10th-grade year. He only played basketball his freshman year. Learning the speed of the high school football game was an adjustment because he hadn’t played since seventh grade.
“Some of it was natural,” Young said. “The difference between youth football and high school is in youth football, you’re just told to hit the man with the football. In high school, you’re running stunts and learning gaps and knowing what the people behind you are doing. Once I learned all the plays, I had it down.”
And now Young is rated as the nation’s No. 14 strongside defensive end in the 2019 class and has offers from some of the nation’s top programs. Young said Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and South Carolina are recruiting him hard. Almost all of those schools — the in-state Mississippi programs especially — are in daily communication with him.
Young named Alabama as his leader last month after visiting for junior day, but he wouldn’t call the Tide his top team anymore. He wants to weigh all of his options and doesn’t want schools to back off recruiting him.
“[Alabama] is still up there,” Young said. “I wouldn’t say that I have a clear leader right now, but they are one of my favorite schools. Just being around the coaches and players and knowing that if you’re a defensive lineman, you’re going to have a good chance to make it to the NFL is why they’re up there for me.”
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound prospect is one of the Tide’s top defensive end targets and is being treated as such. He speaks with primary recruiter Pete Golding and defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski often. Nick Saban offered Young back in January after stopping by his high school, and he quickly followed up by speaking with the recruit on National Signing Day. Saban always calls the majority of the team’s top targets in the following class on Signing Day to let them know that he hopes that they are announced as Alabama signees the following February.
But it’s his impression of Golding and Kuligowski that have excited Young about possibly playing for the Tide.
“Coach Golding is really, really excited about being at Alabama,” Young said. “You can tell that he loves it there. He’s really excited about getting to coach there. Coach Kool was at Miami developing top defensive linemen. He was at a good job at Miami and decided to leave for Alabama. That says a lot.”
Young, who is planning on making his commitment in the fall, doesn’t have any official visits set. He is sure that he wants to visit LSU for the Alabama game in November. This weekend, Young will visit Auburn. He is planning on visiting Georgia next month. Clemson and Florida also will receive visits from Young in the coming weeks and months.
But those schools will have to play catch-up to the bar that Alabama set when he visited Tuscaloosa last month.
“It was just the feeling I got when I was at Alabama,” Young said. “I have a really good chance to play early. They’ve lost a lot of defensive linemen. That was my first time touring the campus and it’s really nice. They also get a lot of players to graduate, which is important.”
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