Young, Anderson Not Committing to Playing Bowl Game
Saturday's Iron Bowl in Bryant-Denny Stadium has a very real chance of being the last time Alabama fans see the team's two best players don the crimson and white.
During media availability on Monday, both Bryce Young and Will Anderson, Jr. were asked whether or not they would be opting out of any bowl game Alabama potentially gets selected for. Both of them gave very noncommittal answers, leaving the door open to them opting out.
Anderson at least went as far as to say that he had not made a decision yet. Young dodged the question in entirety.
“I haven’t made any decisions yet. I’ve just been really focused on this season and continuing to be a good leader and making sure that I’m showing guys the right way of how to do things around here," said Anderson. "Playing in Bryant-Denny has been fun, so many memories. I just wanna keep those memories going. It’s been fun, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”
“As far as me thinking about my future, I take everything one day at a time. So all I’ve been focused on throughout the year has been the next opponent, and obviously, this is huge. This is a huge game. This means a lot to me, to people in the entire state, to us as a team," said Young. "This is a huge game, so all I think about is today. How can I be the best version of myself today to get ready to put myself in the best circumstances, how we as a team can do that, and that’s all my head’s focused on.”
It wouldn't be unfair at all for the two to opt out, especially Young. Both players are currently projected as top five or ten picks in the NFL Draft by most analysts, and that comes with a substantially larger pay day than any NIL deal either has right now. To jeopardize that with any injury in a post-season game that doesn't put a College Football Playoff National Championship trophy in the Mal Moore athletic facility would be ill advised.
Young, especially, has a tough decision to make regarding the bowl game. It's plain to most fans that his throwing shoulder is still not 100% healthy.
Should he opt out, it would serve as an opportunity for Nick Saban to evaluate Jalen Milroe or Ty Simpson against a quality opponent before next season, and potentially inform him on whether he should be seeking a quarterback in the transfer portal.