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Bryce Young

Texans’ QB CJ Stroud defends Bryce Young, says ‘he is going to be a great player’

Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young rolls out of the pocket
Bob Donnan - USA Today Sports

CJ Stroud and Bryce Young are more than childhood friends from California.

They are heart bond brothers that genuinely desire to see each other succeed. Both competed at the Elite 11 quarterback competition and took their talents to the biggest programs in college football. Young delivered the University of Alabama its first Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback while Stroud became everything for Ohio State University. Both were selected at Nos. 1 and 2 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Carolina took Young with the No. 1 overall pick and Houston grabbed Stroud at No. 2.

RELATED: Bryce Young named a team captain as a rookie QB for Panthers

The rookie campaign was different for them. Young struggled in his first season with a franchise that needs more pieces around him, but Stroud took the Texans to the AFC playoffs. Young had 2,877 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.

Stroud finished eighth in the National Football League among quarterbacks for passing yards (4,108) and had 23 touchdown passes to five interceptions. Young complimented Stroud’s work ethic and mindset during the NFL Draft process, so it is only fitting for Stroud to defend his friend after his rookie season. Some are wondering if Young is truly the guy for the Panthers organization to some day lead it to a Super Bowl. People are starting to doubt him after his rookie year, but Stroud believes his guy is the one for Carolina. He expressed in an interview on the Pivot Podcast why he has so much confidence in Young.

“A lot of stuff did not go his way because it was out of his control,” Stroud said about Young’s rookie season. “You can’t make a play if someone does not block. You cannot make a play if someone does not catch the ball. When you watch the tape, Bryce did a lot of great things. He is going to be a great player, but it takes time. I came into a situation where we were struggling, but we still had a lot of good pieces and Nick Caserio, our general manager, brought in a lot of good veterans. DeMeco was the perfect coach for our team. Everybody’s path is different. Maybe I had a great rookie year and Bryce will have a great second year. I hope I do too, but I know everything is going to be fine for him. I told him, ‘You are the one bro …. You the one for a reason, don’t ever look at yourself different.”

Stroud and Young care about each other, and the friendship helped Young get through a tough first year.

RELATED: Panthers rookie QB Bryce Young says “God is protecting him” despite being sacked 44 times this season

He has found different ways to battle adversity. The former five-star will prepare himself to bounce back next fall.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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