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Will Anderson wins 2023 PFWA Defensive Rookie of the Year; three former Alabama stars make PFWA’s All-Rookie Team

Troy Taormina - USA TODAY Sports

The University of Alabama had three former star players win a special National Football League honor.

Will Anderson Jr., Jordan Battle, and Jahmyr Gibbs were selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. All three assisted the Crimson Tide to an Allstate Sugar Bowl victory over Kansas State to finish the 2022 season. Anderson and Battle helped the Tide secure two Southeastern Conference Championships (2020-21) and a College Football Playoff National Championship in 2020.

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The trio earned a spot on Pro Football Writers Association’s All-Rookie Team in the NFL.

Anderson, the No. 3 overall selection of the 2023 draft, won Defensive Rookie of the Year from PFWA.

He pushed the Houston Texans to the AFC playoffs, propelling it to an AFC South Division title. Anderson collected 32 total tackles, eight sacks, 12 tackles for loss, a blocked kick, and a pass breakup. He was a two-time Unanimous All-American, two-time Bronko Nagurski Award winner, and two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2021 and 2022 at Alabama.

Gibbs, the No. 12 overall pick of the 2023 draft, has the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game.

He finished the regular season with over 1,000 scrimmage yards (1,261) and 11 touchdowns. Gibbs had a big role in Detroit’s victories over the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC playoffs. Battle, a third-round selection by the Cincinnati Bengals, had a successful rookie season. The South Florida native had 71 tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks, five pass breakups, and an interception. Anderson, Gibbs, and Battle had success in college, and are excelling in the pros thus far.

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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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Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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