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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame DE Bryce Young Doesn't Shy Away From the Work

February 20, 2024
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Bryce Young started his high school career as a receiver and ended it as a five-star defensive end. 

The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder was never the smallest guy in his class, but Young put in the work to develop into a dominating presence on the field. 

“The physical aspect of it, just getting bigger, faster but also I attribute it to the mental aspect, too,” Young said of what led to his breakout season in 2023. “Just being sharp in everything I do - film study, all that, knowing my keys and just my pre-snap ability and all that.”

There were challenges with growing from four inches during high school, but Young didn’t really notice issues gaining the right weight or even impacting his ability to play at a high level. 

“I would say definitely being tall, putting weight on, you don't really notice it,” Young said. “I haven't really felt like I've been able to move less because I can put on weight and it won't really affect my movement.

“Saying mobile was definitely one of my big things because you've got to be mobile on the D-line to be able to do what you do best.”

As the son of a Hall of Famer, Young is well aware of the expectations and they are probably increased given he’ll play for Notre Dame, the alma mater of his father and mother. 

Young also learned at a young age that pride in his family name wasn’t going to get him anywhere and it came down to getting what he put into the sport. 

“It was definitely having setbacks going against people, seeing people that are better than me and wanting to be better at what I do,” Young said of his work ethic. “That comes with putting your pride out the way and just putting your head down and working, find all the resources you can. Really taking in the resources I had.”

And that also includes learning to play harder than other players on the field. 

“In terms of motor and stuff, that's one of the biggest things, especially being a defensive end,” stated Young. “I feel like my motor is going to carry me even when my technique lacks.” 

Perhaps what makes Young’s future even more intriguing is the fact he’s only played football for four years. 

The Charlotte native didn’t start playing the game until his freshman year for health reasons, but it’s also led him to a point where his ceiling is whatever he wants it to be. 

“It was more so much for my brain health,” explained Young. “He (his dad) wanted to wait until I was in high school because he didn't start playing until he was in high school. I played a little flag football, basketball, soccer, all those sports, but I had never really gotten to organized football.”

Young’s physical gifts have been highlighted over the last few years, but to reach his ceiling at the collegiate level, he knows it starts with mastering the mental side of the game. 

“Definitely learning to read the tackle, like reacting on a tackle right off the snap, like my reacting ability,” Young said of where he needs to improve. “Being able to read pre-snap better, knowing formations, film study. That all comes with film study, stuff like that.”

A month into college, Young is focused on building relationships with his new teammates and those in the Notre Dame community. 

“It's cool,” said Young. “I came here the first week, it was a little chilly, but I've been getting used to it. I met new people on campus. I met the guys. I've been kicking it with them, so it's been a great adjustment.”

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