A native of Upper Marlboro, Md. in Prince George's County -- a dozen or so miles from FedEx Field -- Chase Young grew up a fan of the Washington Football Team. Naturally, he grew an affinity for the team's star left tackle at the time, Trent Williams, who spent nine years with the franchise.
During a recent appearance on HBO's The Shop: Uninterrupted, Young was asked if there was any moment during his rookie year where he felt a changing of the guard, where he realized that the players who were once his idols are now his peers and competitors. The Burgundy and Gold star cited last year's game against the 49ers, where he got the chance to play and directly match up against Williams.
"This [past] year, I played Trent Williams. Everybody knows that Trent is the big, bad wolf, and I got the chance to play against him. It was crazy," Young said.
In that Week 14 matchup, Young's Washington squad edged out a banged-up 49ers team, 23-15. What made that game so remarkable was that while Williams was arguably Young's most challenging individual matchup in all of 2020, then Defensive Rookie of the Year ended up turning in the best game of his brief career.
"I was having fun, for real, because it was just another football game," Young said. "But at the same time, I feel like that game was the best game of my career. I scored a touchdown, had a sack, you know, I did my thing that game. It was a real big game for me."
In the victory, Young finished with six total tackles, a sack, two QB hits, a forced fumble, and an incredible fumble recovery, where he scooped the pigskin off the turn and sprinted 47 yards down the sideline for his first career touchdown.
In that game, Young quickly earned the respect of Williams, too.
"Chase Young's going to be a heck of a player in this league," Williams told reporters after the game. "He's still young and the scary thing is he's gonna get extremely better in years to come so, offensive tackle is pretty scary for guys who play that position."
Then, during a segment for NFL Network's Top 100 players list earlier this offseason, Williams was asked about No. 99 and doubled down on previous comments, once again praising Washington's star 22-year-old.
"I feel like Chase is going to be a nightmare, man," Williams told NFL Films. "Just to see how advanced he is as a rookie. For an offensive tackle, you kinda — ain't gonna say 'nervous' — but next year, he's gonna be a totally different animal. ... He's one of those transcendent talents that comes around every blue moon. He's a Hall of Fame player just unfolding before our eyes."
For someone like Young, who's played just one season in the NFL thus far, that's high praise from a likely future Hall of Famer himself in Williams. It's clear how much of an impact the 2020 No. 2 overall pick had on his opponents as a rookie.
Between Young and Williams, there's clearly plenty of mutual respect. Once Young's idol, the pass rusher is already looking forward to his next chance to square off against Williams.
"He's got about 10 years on me. Just looking at him from middle school to high school to now, playing against him, it's crazy," Young said.