Young was a three-year starter for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, lettering all 4 years from 1990 to 1993. As a senior, he was an All-American selection, and had 6.5 sacks and 67 tackles. As a junior, he was an Honorable Mention All-American selection and garnered 7.5 sacks. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1994 with a major in marketing. He has a brother Charles Young.
He was drafted by the 49ers in the 1st round (7th overall) in the 1994 NFL Draft. Bryant Young had his finest statistical season in 1996 recording 84 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 4 passes defensed and 2 safeties, while earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl. In 1997, although Young's sack total dropped to just 4 on the season, he was still a dominant presence on the interior line, helping San Francisco finish first overall in the NFL in total defense that season. Despite his drop in statistical production, he was still widely considered by many to be the best all-around DT in the NFL, despite teammate DT Dana Stubblefield being named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year that same season. Young was leading the entire NFL at the DT position in sacks with 9.5 prior to his season-ending injury suffered on a Monday Night match up against the New York Giants in week 13 of the 1998 season. The injury to Young's leg was so severe that he needed a metal rod to be inserted in the broken leg. Despite Young's devastating injury coming late in the 1998 season, Young came back fully recovered in time for the 1999 season and recorded over 70 tackles, 11 sacks and a safety which earned him his second Pro Bowl. Young also received the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award for his fantastic play that same season. Bryant Young had 89.5 career sacks in his 14 year career with the 49ers, ranking him at 4th all-time in the NFL in career sacks for a player at the DT position, trailing only Hall of Famer John Randle, Warren Sapp, and Trevor Pryce. He also ranks 3rd on the teams all-time career sacks list placing him behind only DE Tommy Hart and DE Cedric Hardman. Bryant Young also owns the 49ers' franchise record for career safeties, with 3. Bryant Young is a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s. Young wore the number 97 his whole career since college. Young retired from the NFL following the 2007 season. Bryant Young is eligible to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the year 2013. Young was named as one of the 127 Preliminary nominees for the Hall of Fame but was eliminated when the list was reduced to 27 Semi-Finalists in November, 2012.
On January 14, 2011 Young was hired as the defensive line coach for the University of Florida Gators football team. He re-joined defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, his former position coach with the 49ers. On April 10, 2013 Young abruptly resigned to spend more time with his family.