Alabama quarterback Bryce Young’s 2021 Heisman Trophy win was noteworthy for many reasons, but for Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., it was especially, ahem, special.
Because when Young hoisted the Heisman, he became the third winner who graduated from Mater Dei, making it the only school to produce three Heisman winners.
On May 24, the school finally got a chance to honor the achievement with a school-wide Heisman Homecoming celebration that honored Young and fellow Mater Dei-Heisman winners Matt Leinart and John Huarte. Leinart graduated from Mater Dei in 2001 and won the Heisman at USC in 2004 while Huarte graduated high school in 1961 before claiming the 1964 Heisman while at Notre Dame.
Heisman Lane was already a thoroughfare on the private campus, but it got an edit on May 24 as Young’s name was added to the street sign, joining the other two quarterbacks.
The school also added a trophy case with Young’s Mater Dei jersey, college helmet and trophy, complementing the ones there for his two older contemporaries.
In 1960, Huarte led the Monarchs to the school’s third CIF-Southern Section Championship, throwing four touchdowns in their title win, the final stepping stone before continuing his education and football career at Notre Dame.
Leinart, in 1999, led Mater Dei to a share of the CIF-SS title after a championship game tie with fellow Southern California power Long Beach Poly. He was named the California Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior, throwing for 2,870 yards and 28 touchdowns. After his senior year, he became a Trojan.
Young transferred to Mater Dei for his junior year in 2018. In two years with the Monarchs, Young directed Mater Dei to a state title in 2018 and to the state championship game in 2019.
Click here for highlights of the event.