SANTA ANA, Calif. – Football is officially back in session. And when it comes to high school football in Southern California, Mater Dei is no stranger to the national spotlight.
The Monarchs are fresh off back-to-back state championships and will be led once again by quarterback, Bryce Young.
There's no doubt it takes grit, determination, and skill to be the starting quarterback at Mater Dei. And it takes a special type of player to lead their team to the state title in their first season as a starter.
Young is all of those things — special, a starter, and a champion — but at home, he's just Bryce.
"I think a lot of people understand the football player and know that part," said Bryce's father, Craig Young.
But few know who Bryce is at home.
To his parents, Craig and Julie, Bryce has always had a big personality. He may be calm and collected on the field, but he's competitive in everything from football to video games.
If you ask him, Bryce will try to call himself a good loser, but it's just not something he's used to.
Last year, the Youngs made the decision to transfer to Mater Dei, uprooting their family for a chance at competing against the best of the best.
“Ultimately it came down to increasing the level of competition for me," Bryce explained, "being able to play the harder schedule and the best opponents possible.”
It was a lot of pressure for the teenager to handle, but he took on each challenge as it came.
Bryce took the reigns of a legendary high school football program and brought home a state title. He took over for a legendary high school quarterback and he finished with over 3,000 yards and 39 touchdowns. He was also the first African American quarterback to take the field at Mater Dei.
All of these have served as motivation for Bryce to keep pushing.
“For me it’s just not being stagnant," he said while at a recent workout. "I know that I’ve had success and things have been going well so far. I’m not good enough yet."
"I’m good for where I’m at, but I’m not trying to stay here. There’s a lot more things I want to accomplish and improve on.”
This year he heads into his senior season. Once again it's a lot of pressure, but when you're Bryce Young, dealing with pressure is in your DNA.
"Now he craves those moments," Craig said. "They’ve come to define who he is as a player."
"People don’t know him like I do," his mother Julie said. "We know what he’s capable of and what he’s used to in pressure times.”
And as for Bryce, the best could be yet to come.