Bryce Young Taking First Team Snaps, Joe Burrow Going Long With The Reds And Other Heisman News

Bryce Young, Panthers minicamp / Photo: Carolina Panthers

The 2021 Heisman winner is already making moves less than two months into his NFL career.

Bryce Young, drafted first by Carolina in April’s NFL draft, stepped into the first-team snaps at the Panthers’ OTA practice today as he competes with veteran Andy Dalton and second-year QB Matt Corral for the starting quarterback job come September.

Asked if Young is the starter yet, Carolina Coach Frank Reich told media: “Not yet. He’s showing everything you want to see. But this goes back to even the draft decision – you don’t make a decision until you have to make it. We’re just giving him and our team the opportunity to get better and to earn that starting role.”

Said Young: “For me, it’s about earning it. I’m grateful to have the opportunity that I have. To be able to come here and be a part of this organization. I still think it’s a process. I’m grateful to be accepted by the team. It’s an amazing locker room, a great group of guys. I want to continue with that. It’s not something you’re just entitled to.”

Added wide receiver teammate D.J. Clark, who connected with Young Thursday on a TD catch: “I can tell you now that he has the respect of everyone in that locker room, and he hasn’t done anything to lose that respect. He only continues to gain it. We’re here for him … and we believe he can take us to some really high places.” 

Young can only hope he has as much early success as 2019 Heisman winner Joe Burrow, who started as a rookie and took Cincinnati to the Super Bowl as a sophomore NFL QB ahead of another playoff run in 2022.

Burrow took time out between his Bengals summer camp schedule to get some swings in with the Cincinnati Reds during batting practice this week.

As seen here, he can hit the long ball as well as he can throw it.

1987 Heisman winner Tim Brown – the Fighting Irish’s last Heisman winner — was in South Bend this week and gave a pep talk to the Notre Dame squad.

“You gotta lock it in now,” Brown said. “Before you get in that 80,000 seat stadium where everyone in the world will see it, you have to lock it in now. Think about championships now. Talk about it now.” 

2015 Heisman winner Derrick Henry is known as one of the hardest workers in the NFL. 

Minicamps and OTAs are a great time for established vets to sharpen the tools in their NFL toolbox.

Here, watch Henry chase down a beautiful deep ball from second-year QB Malik Willis.

The soon-to-be eight-year pro is already 42nd on the NFL career rushing chart with 8,335 yards and another big year could see him approach the top 35 or higher.

What about our other Heisman winners in the league?

2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, after signing a blockbuster deal to return to Baltimore, is in camp and ready to continue his progress as one of the game’s best.

He will be working with a new offensive coordinator — and a new offense – this season. Coach John Harbaugh is excited about the prospects.

Baker Mayfield, the 2017 Heisman winner, is at a new address in 2023 and is competing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting QB job along with third-year pro and 2020 Heisman finalist Kyle Trask.

His Oklahoma Sooners teammate and 2018 Heisman winner Kyler Murray is on the road to recovery after a 2022 knee injury. He has been rehabbing at the Arizona Cardinals facility and has been fully involved in off-season team activities.

Jameis Winston, back in New Orleans, just completed a one-week program with other high profile athletes at the Harvard Business School called The Business of Entertainment, Media, and Sports. More on that here.

Third-year pro and 2020 Heisman winner DeVonta Smith is working hard to follow up on his strong two-year start to his NFL career, which included a Super Bowl appearance in February.

Said Smith: “I just prepare the way I prepare,” Smith said. “I know what I need to do to play at the level I want to be at and that’s my focus every day. Nothing changes. We’re getting ready for the season. We have high goals.”

Smith’s new Heisman teammate, 2014 winner Marcus Mariota, is now the backup QB in Philadelphia behind Heisman finalist Jalen Hurts.