Three Alabama Players Make the 2022 Walter Camp Watch List
Alabama makes its presence known on the 2022 Walter Camp Player of the Year Preseason Watch List by having three players named to it. The Crimson Tide's two biggest names from the 2021 season, Bryce Young and Will Anderson, as well as one of the team's newest players in Eli Ricks were announced on the 52-player list on Friday.
The Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, which is given out annually to the best college football player in the nation, as voted on by 130 FBS head coaches and sports information directors, is one of the most prestigious awards in college football. Named in honor of Walter Camp, aka the "Father of American Football", for his contributions to the sport that still shapes the game today, the award was founded in 1967.
Last season, Young had 4,872 passing yards and 47 touchdowns, breaking Alabama's single-season record for both and ranking first in the SEC and second in the nation in both.
The 21-year-old quarterback's record-breaking season resulted in him winning many awards, such as the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, the Davey O'Brien Award and the Manning Award, along with being named AP College Football Player of the Year, Sporting News College Football Player of the Year, SEC Offensive Player of the Year and SEC Male Athlete of the Year. He was also a finalist for the Walter Camp Award last season, but lost in favor of Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III.
It should come as no surprise that Anderson is one of the eight defensive players named to the watch list after the numbers he put up last season, recording 101 total tackles, including 33.5 tackles for loss, and 17.5 sacks, which ranked first in the nation. Like his offensive counterpart in Young, the outside linebacker also won his fair share of awards, including the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, SEC Defensive Player of the Year and Cotton Bowl Classic MVP.
After spending two seasons with LSU, Ricks came to Alabama via the transfer portal during this offseason. Due to an injury cutting his 2021 season short, he only played 14 games for the Tigers over his two seasons with them, where he put up 31 total tackles, six pass breakups and five interceptions, two of which were returned for pick-sixes. Along with Anderson, Ricks hopes to become the first defensive player to win the award since Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o in 2012.
Alabama has had three Walter Camp Award winners since the creation of the award in 1967, with them being Derrick Henry (2015), Tua Tagovailoa (2018) and DeVonta Smith (2020).
All three junior players are expected to develop further this upcoming season as they look to avenge the Crimson Tide's championship loss last season.
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