From Dollar General to Orange Bowl Champion

Tennessee Vol's, defensive lineman, Byron Young

Number 6 may run through the Power T with his team and take the field as a defensive lineman or linebacker, but he’s known as the Southeastern Conference’s number 6 quarterback rusher with 36 pressures according to Pro Football Focus. An impressive list of accolades for the senior at the University of Tennessee.

Byron Young is a standout on the gridiron for the Volunteers. His influence as a player is dependable, and his talent made him a dominant presence in Tennessee’s Orange Crush. All this makes South Carolinian Young an NFL prospect.

BY’s talent can’t be underappreciated, but his personal story of grit and preparation provide the evidence that this young man is a success on the field, but is certainly fashioned to be a success in life.

In high school, Young’s talent didn’t catch the eyes of college recruiters. He moved to Alabama and played the 2017 season with a sports academy that closed in 2018. BY moved closer to home to Georgia and worked multiple jobs, at the same time.

Young began at Burger King and took the encouragement of his boss to take a second job at the local Dollar General Store in hopes of entering its management program. Byron was already demonstrating his committed work ethic and his desire to grow.

At both jobs, BY humbly worked the register, the grill, stocked shelves, mopped floors, or whatever the task at hand. Of himself, Young told a reporter, “I was a great employee, and I worked two jobs at one time. But (football) was always on my mind. I just didn’t know where to start, and I thought it was impossible.”

Byron Young had a dream. He knew that it was up to him to make that dream a reality by leveraging his talent, his hard work, his willingness to do what others refused in hopes of having what others would not.

In 2019, Byron saw a flyer about a football tryout at Georgia Military College. He made the team and played one season after COVID interrupted his second year.

Throughout these two years, BY’s bills had to be paid so he went to school, practice and worked shifts at the local Circle K convenience store. The availability of online classes due to COVID allowed the determined young man to maximize his time and showcase his talent.

Byron made and distributed a video of his own highlights for other football programs. He signed with Tennessee in January 2021, and has been a “sponge” of willingness to learn, according to Tennessee’s defensive coordinator Tim Banks.

From flipping burgers to making key plays in Tennessee’s Orange Bowl victory, Byron Young is a winner.

 “The reality is that he’s taken every opportunity and maximized it,” Coach Banks said. “That’s why he’s in the position that he’s in right now. Somebody is going to get a really good young man and a tremendous player.” Grit, work ethic, a defined dream and a plan–BY’s formula.