As the second half of the season gets ready to kickoff for Alabama, the Crimson Tide defense received early recognition for their efforts this season. On Tuesday, November 1st, Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. and defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry were named semifinalists for the Bednarik award.

The Bednarik Award goes to the best defensive player in college football.

Will Anderson Jr. came into the season recognized as the best defensive player in the country and has returned to form in the 2022 season. Anderson Jr. currently leads the SEC in tackles for loss with 12 and is second in sacks with six.  He also has added a blocked field goal, interception and touchdown this season. Despite having so much success in the opposing team's backfield, Anderson Jr. only has 36 total tackles on the year, a drop off compared to the whopping 101 tackles last season.

Kool-Aid McKinstry stepped into a new light this season as the Crimson Tide's number one cornerback. McKinstry currently leads the Crimson Tide with 11 passes broken up. His biggest contribution has come as the team's punt returner. He currently leads all Division I punt returners with 319 yards and an average of 17.7 yards per punt return on just 18 punts. His current stats sit at 23 total tackles, including two tackles for loss and 1 sack. He also has recorded one fumble recovery on defense.

If won, this would be the first time an Alabama player has won the award since winning it in back to back years in 2016 and 2017 with Jonathan Allen and Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Both Alabama stars look to continue their success on defense as they take on LSU this weekend in Baton Rouge.

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