Alabama football opens 2016 with blessings.
First, it defeats Clemson 45-40 to win its 16th national championship in school history and now it returns two huge contributors on defense for next season. Outside linebackers Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson have both decided to forgo the NFL Draft and return to Alabama for their senior years.
Williams emerged as a pass rush specialist in 2015, totaling 10.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. His speed and rush moves on the edge helped Alabama generate 52 sacks, which is the most under head coach Nick Saban. Williams was half of the Crimson Tide’s double-digit sack duo joining defensive end Jonathan Allen, who finished the year with 12.5 sacks.
Williams, a native of Baton Rouge, La., mentioned to Ryan Fowler of Tide 99.1 that he planned to return to Tuscaloosa for a senior season, prior to seeing his draft grade. Despite receiving a late first-to-early second round status, Williams took to social media Wednesday to voice his final decision.
Coming back to play with my brothers. We can win this thing again baby!! RTR.
— $icario🐉 (@JaYbOi225) January 13, 2016
Anderson collected six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss this year. A native of Daphne, Alabama, Anderson led the team in quarterback hurries (10) and had two forced fumbles.
Coming back to school another year.. Still a lot of stuff I want to accomplish #roadto17
— . (@Anderson_365) January 14, 2016
Having two experienced edge rushers along with sophomore Rashaan Evans and redshirt freshman Christian Miller bodes well for Alabama’s structure on defense. Evans posted three tackles, two tackles for loss and two sacks against Clemson.
Quite a few Crimson Tide players will don NFL hats from April 28-30 in Chicago, but Williams and Anderson will serve as leaders on a revamped defense in 2016.