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Time to consider Alabama LB Will Anderson for Heisman Trophy ballot

Will Anderson (#31) after making a tackle for Alabama versus LSU
Photo by the University of Alabama

Since the Auburn game in 2020, Will Anderson has become the most dominant force in college football.

Opposing quarterbacks fear him when he enters the backfield. He is not eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft, but Anderson is a candidate for the Chuck Bednarik Award. Regardless of it being an offensive award, the sophomore outside linebacker for Alabama should be considered for the Heisman Trophy ballot. No defensive player has won the Heisman in the 2000s era, and Charles Woodson (Michigan, 1997) was the last defensive player to win the honor. Anderson has disrupted the timing of offenses all season, especially the LSU Tigers. He delivered punishment to Tigers’ quarterback Max Johnson in Alabama’s 20-14 victory.

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Anderson had a game-high for total tackles (12), solo tackles (eight), and tackles for loss (four). He collected 1.5 sacks, two quarterback hurries, and a pass breakup. His 12 tackles were a career-high for him. Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux is a strong pass rusher, but Anderson is producing more than him.

The 6-foot-4, 243-pounder has 10.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss, which are team-highs.

Anderson has the most TFLs by a Crimson Tide defensive player in the Nick Saban era for a single season.

Quinnen Williams had the most in 2018 (19.5 TFLs) before Anderson came. As for his 10.5 sacks, he is tied for fifth all-time in Alabama history for a season. He shares the company of Jonathan Allen (2016), Tim Williams (2015), Eric Curry (1992), and Jon Copeland (1992).

He is more concerned about winning a national title, but Malachi Moore is campaigning Anderson for Heisman.

Crimson Tide fans are doing the same thing.

They love the relentless fire from No. 31, and they feed off him.

If Alabama does not have Anderson, its defense is nonexistent. He has 65 total tackles — including a team-high 34 solo stops — six quarterback hurries and two pass breakups.

Anderson needs to be in the conversation for the coveted bronze award.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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