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Will Anderson snubbed for Heisman and other defensive awards is repulsively egregious

Will Anderson lines up against Florida
Picture comes via Crimson Tide photos

If one is going to do something, it must do it right.

A powerful life principle was forgotten on Monday by Heisman Trophy voters.

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Since 1935, the Heisman Memorial Trophy has been awarded to the most outstanding player in college football whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.

The winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.

It is a platform that determines a winner, but it also should project a finalist. When one ponders about the Heisman, it knows only the best get invited to New York City for the trophy presentation.

People recognize the athletes who are head and shoulders above others. Will Anderson is a leader for Alabama football. 

He is the most entertaining player in the Southeastern Conference and college football.

National media, local media, analysts, broadcasters, and fans talk about him every week. Offensive-minded coaches hate playing the Crimson Tide because they worry about Anderson. The 6-foot-4, 243-pounder has faced every blocking technique from offensive linemen; nevertheless, they can’t stop him.

Linemen have done everything possible – up to holding fouls and not getting called — to keep Anderson off-balance, but he sacks the quarterback anyway. He is a five-time SEC Defensive Player of the Week winner, three-time Bednarik Award Player of the Week winner, and Bronko Nagurski Player of the Week winner.

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College football fans watched Anderson carry Alabama’s defense to close wins over Florida, LSU, and Auburn.

The national conversation was Georgia would blow Alabama out in the SEC Championship matchup. It held on to Anderson for life, but the edge rusher totaled six tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack in a 41-24 victory for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama fans would have been okay if the finalists for the Heisman Trophy were all quarterbacks. They are proud of Bryce Young representing the program in New York, but seeing another defensive player (not Anderson) selected for this opportunity has their blood boiling. Tide fans and the college football world can’t wrap their heads around Aiden Hutchinson of Michigan over Anderson for the Heisman.

Voters have to look at the whole body of work.

Anderson doubles Hutchinson’s production in meaningful defensive categories.

He has 33 more total tackles (91 to 58), 19 more solo tackles (52 to 33), 17 more tackles for loss (32.5 to 15.5), and 1.5 more sacks (15.5 to 14.0) than Hutchinson. Is it wrong to lead college football in multiple statistical categories?

Voters made it bad for Anderson as he’s first in Division I FBS for sacks and tackles for loss.

The most dominant players go for the Heisman, and Hutchinson has not been more impactful on defense than Anderson. Ndamukong Suh attended the Heisman ceremony in 2009 as a standout defensive tackle from Nebraska.

He was the most dominant defensive player that year and got rewarded.

RELATED: Alabama LB Will Anderson wins Bronko Nagurski Award

Suh led the Cornhuskers in total tackles (85), solo tackles (52), stops for loss (20.5), sacks (12), and quarterback hurries (19).

Anderson has better numbers than Suh in all areas, except quarterback hurries. 

Ohio State’s Chase Young was a Heisman finalist in 2019. He totaled 46 tackles, 32 solo tackles, 21 tackles for loss, and 16.5 sacks.

Anderson has better stats than Young.

Aaron Donald is the NFL’s most fearsome interior pass rusher.  He collected 59 tackles, 43 solo tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks in 2013 at the University of Pittsburgh.

Anderson’s numbers are better than Donald’s.

He won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (nation’s top defensive player), but Anderson got snubbed for the Butkus Award, Lott IMPACT Trophy, and Heisman finalist. The voters for the Heisman neglected their due diligence, and it was repulsively egregious.

If we are going to honor the best, we need to be about it. Anderson got robbed of his moment.

He will be taking the frustrations out on Cincinnati in the CFP semifinal game.

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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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