ESPN Highlights Two Tide Stars As Top 2 Returning Players in CFB
Will Anderson and Bryce Young had strong cases to be considered as the top two picks in last month’s NFL Draft. Instead, the two will be returning to Tuscaloosa for their junior seasons. In a recent ESPN article, Anderson and Young were named the top two players returning in college football.
Anderson has been a dominant player from the moment he stepped onto the field as a freshman. The Hampton, Ga., native registered 52 tackles and finished third in the SEC in sacks with seven and third in the conference in tackles for loss with 10.5 in 2020. He earned Freshman All-America honors from the FWAA, 247Sports and The Athletic. Anderson was also selected as the Shaun Alexander-FWAA Freshman of the Year.
He followed up an impressive freshman campaign with one of the more dominant seasons in modern college football as a sophomore. Anderson amassed 102 tackles and led the country in sacks with 17.5 and tackles for loss with 34.5. He was a unanimous first team All-American selection, was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and brought home the Bronko Nagurski Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player.
Young completely rewrote the Alabama record book in his first season as a starter. He set the Alabama single season records for passing yards (4,872) and touchdowns (47) en route to becoming the school’s fourth Heisman trophy winner. He was also recognized as college football's Player of the Year by the Associated Press and The Sporting News and won the Maxwell, Davey O'Brien and Manning Awards.
The Alabama signal caller put together some spectacular performances this past season. He completed 90-percent of his passes in two separate games. Young also became the first player in Alabama history to throw five touchdown passes in a single half and to have 350-plus passing yards and two rushing touchdowns in a game.
He broke the school record for passing yards in a single game with 559, a record that had stood for 52 years. In the SEC title game, Young put the finishing touches on a Heisman campaign. He set the record for most passing yards with 421 and total yards with 461 as the Crimson Tide won its eighth SEC championship under Nick Saban.
Anderson and Young lead an Alabama team that is the odds-on favorite to win the national championship in 2022.
The Crimson Tide open the season on Sep. 3 at home against Utah State before traveling to Austin to face Texas on Sep. 10.
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