Teammates say Panthers No. 1 pick Bryce Young’ ‘brought the house down’ at rookie talent show

Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young watches drills at the NFL football team's training...
Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young watches drills at the NFL football team's training camp on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, in Spartanburg, S.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)(Chris Carlson | AP)
Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 7:58 PM EDT
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — It turns out playing football may not be Bryce Young’s only talent.

The Carolina Panthers’ No. 1 overall draft pick wowed teammates with his rendition of Keyshia Cole’s song “Love” at the team’s annual rookie talent show on Wednesday night at Wofford College.

He brought the house down,” Panthers offensive tackle Ickey Ekwonu said.

Ekwonu was among the many who were impressed with Young’s showmanship and poise on stage in front of his new Carolina teammates.

“He got everyone singing, everyone clapping and got a standing ovation,” Ekwonu said. “And he went first — that’s a lot of pressure going first. I think he killed it.”

Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson said the performance was so good that he thought he was at a concert.

“Bryce had a hell of a performance,” Thompson said. “... Everybody enjoyed it. He got into it. I’m trying to tell you, it was like a concert. He set the stage.”

Thompson said he was “shocked” to learn Young had so much personality.

The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner is known for his quiet, humble demeanor and a business-like approach to the game. But it terms of his personality, he’s kept things largely even keeled — that is, until he let it all out on stage.

“Just seeing that personality out of him,” Thompson said. “It was good for us to see and good for him to be up there.”

Thompson said sometimes it takes rookies time to get comfortable with their new teammates and earn trust.

“Yesterday, it was a whole different Bryce,” Thompson said. “... We didn’t know what to expect, but he got up there and killed it. That’s it. First-round pick, he had a lot of stuff on you, and he killed it. He lived up to it.”

It wasn’t the first time Young has performed Cole’s hit song.

He was filmed on Instagram performing “Love” when he was playing quarterback for Alabama.

The 22-year-old Young was not made available to reporters on Thursday after speaking during the first two days of training camp.

But he said earlier in the week he was preparing for the talent show by singing in the shower, adding that he likes to do so with his eyes open.

“I’m more of a visualizer,” Young said with a laugh. “I see the crowd. A little crowd control. That’s more of my thing.”

Young’s winning performance came on the same day coach Frank Reich selected him as the team’s starting quarterback. Barring injury, Young will start Carolina’s Week 1 game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 10.

Young has impressed his coaches and teammates with his strong arm, attention to detail and knowledge of the game, wrestling away first-team reps from veteran quarterback Andy Dalton back in June.

Panthers wide receiver DJ Chark said he knew Young had a great personality after spending three days in July working out with him and other Carolina skill position players at SMU.

“He’s smart, funny and those things carry over to the field,” Chark said. “The moment never gets too big or too intense because you have that relationship and things like that.”