Photo/James Pugh

Offers from Alabama don’t come calling that often for high school athletes in the Pine-belt, especially for a blue-collar athlete inside the Free-State of Jones. So when the offer came to West Jones standout Byron Young, everyone – including Young – took notice.

“I really wasn’t waiting on the offer [from Alabama],” said the incoming senior defensive end. “I grew up liking LSU. That was the offer I was looking for. But Alabama offered me, and I started talking to the coaches there and looking at all they had to offer [in terms of education]. I began to see that it was a perfect place for me to be.”

Alabama offered the 2019 No. 111 recruit according to ESPN back in January. A little over a month later Young released his Top 10 schools, which included Alabama and eight other SEC universities. Clemson was the only school outside of the SEC listed in his Top 10.

The West Jones standout made his decision known on Wednesday via social media. 

“After much consideration, I have decided to commit,” said Young in a tweet. “I’d like to thank every school that has shown interest in me, large or small. I’d like to thank my coaches for believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself and for pushing me beyond the limits I at one point set for myself. I’d like to thank my teammates for pushing me at practice and for all the great times we’ve had so far over my football career. I also want to thank my friends that have been there for me even before I was noticed for football (especially Abby and Jon-Micah). I’d like to thank my family for all the sacrifices they’ve made to put me in the position I’m in today. From my mother to my sister, they have all pushed me academically and physically to places beyond I thought I’d ever be. Last be not least, I’d like to thank the Man above for giving me the talent and ability to play this sport I love. With that being said, I’d like to announce my commitment to The University of Alabama. Roll Tide Roll.”

Young’s commitment is the 18th of the 2019 recruiting cycle for Alabama. The Crimson Tide currently holds the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation for 2019 according to

“It was a place I fell in love with when I visited,” said Young. “My family loved it as well. I felt at home when I was there. I loved the coaches and the players from there that I knew.”

West Jones thrived last year with Young at defensive end. The Mustangs finished 8-4 overall, and second in Region 3-5A that included a momentum 17-7 win over the three-time reigning 3-5A champs, Laurel. 

“Last year was a good year for us,” Young said. “We started out slow with losses to Wayne County and Quitman. We picked it up and never got down on ourselves. We kept going with the mindset of getting better each day and each week. This upcoming year, I think we will be even better. I know that overall as a team we are better.”

His commitment on Independence Day foreshadows the remainder of his summer and fall. 

“It was something that I wanted to do for the longest now,” said the Alabama commit. “I talked to my two brothers about it. They told me that if this was something that I wanted to do, I needed to make a decision and do it now instead of waiting. 

“I don’t think I would have been pressured much by it [in the season] if I waited, but now I know that I don’t have to think about it as much.”