Behind the scenes at the Heisman Trophy ceremony with Alabama football's Bryce Young

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

NEW YORK – Once Alabama football quarterback Bryce Young left the Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, he hopped in a Cadillac Escalade.

Coach Nick Saban was among those who joined him.

They drove through Times Square en route to the Marriott Marquis, where both would hold news conferences. There, they would each talk about Young becoming the first Alabama quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy and the fourth player under Saban.

First, however, they talked in the Escalade, along with others from their group. Not about the trophy or the sophomore quarterback's significant accomplishments in his first season as a starter. Saban and Young just shared old stories.

“It was amazing being able to share this moment with coach,” Young told The Tuscaloosa News. “That’s a memory I will have forever, riding through Times Square and getting to share the memory with coach and the rest of the people who have helped facilitate this whole event. Definitely a special moment.”

EXCLUSIVE:Alabama football's Bryce Young shares journey from Cali kid to Heisman Trophy winner

HEISMAN VOTE:Why I voted Alabama football's Bryce Young for Heisman Trophy | Kelly

TOPPMEYER:Move aside, Oklahoma. With Bryce Young's Heisman, Alabama football is QBU

In a brief conversation after the Heisman win, Young talked to the Tuscaloosa News about Robert Griffin III, Young’s phone going crazy and how he prepared his speech.

Meeting Robert Griffin III

Among the former Heisman winners who attended Saturday’s ceremony was Griffin, the former Baylor quarterback.

RG3 won the award in 2011. When Young was asked earlier in the week the earliest Heisman he remembered, that’s who he mentioned.

Through the weekend, Young had a chance to get to know the quarterback who now works as an analyst for ESPN.

“It’s been really cool,” Young said. “That was my first time really getting to sit down and talk to him. He also is a super-cool dude when the camera is off too. It was really nice .. again, it’s crazy; as a kid you just see him as a Heisman Trophy winner. It was really cool to meet someone like that.”

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, left, stands alongside head coach Nick Saban for a photograph after winning the Heisman Trophy, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

How Young prepared for his Heisman speech

Once Young’s name was announced as the winner and he hugged the fellow finalists, his parents and Saban, he walked up onto the stage and gave a speech he had prepared.

It’s something he said he’d been working on during the week, once he knew he would be a finalist.

He wrote a bullet point down here and there of what he wanted to discuss and who he wanted to thank. Josh Maxson, Alabama’s assistant athletics director, communications, helped some through the process, too.

“You just prepare hoping for the best and be able to give the speech and try my best with all the emotions going on,” Young said. “For that to be an amazing moment to be a part of, just to kind of compose myself and try to deliver it as well as I could.

"It was something again I will remember forever. An amazing moment. I am just blessed to receive the award and be here this weekend."

Phone going crazy

At the time of his conversation with The Tuscaloosa News at about 10 p.m. ET, Young hadn’t had much of a chance to look at his phone. But he knew it was already getting filled with messages.

“I am going to try to reach back out to everyone at some point,” Young said. “It might take a while, but I am super grateful to have the people around me to have people who support me to reach out and say congratulations. I’m grateful for everyone who has reached out.”

Contact Alabama reporter Nick Kelly: nkelly@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly