DE/OLB · Alabama
Summary: All due respect to some draftnicks who believe otherwise (Hello, Mel), but Will Anderson Jr. is one of the elite players in this draft and has talents that should compare him to Von Miller in the NFL. Anderson can be overaggressive, and that gets him into trouble as he misses more tackles than he should. But he is not a one-trick pony, with high-level ability as both a pass rusher and run stopper. At Alabama he played with his hand in the dirt and as a stand-up outside rusher so he should adapt easily to any defensive scheme. He was named unanimous All American twice and collected career totals of 62 tackles for loss and 34.5 sacks, behind only Derrick Thomas in Bama history.
FRANKLY: He may not dominate NFL opponents immediately or all the time — evidenced by Tennessee RT Darnell Wright giving him problems — but Anderson has a toolbox full of tricks to wreak more than his share of havoc. He might need to beef up a little at the next level, but has as much value as most of the over-discussed quarterbacks in this draft, and should be taken in the top four overall.
YEAR (GP/GS) TKLS TFL SACK FF PD INT
2020: (13/13) 52 10.5 7.0 1 0 0
2021: (15/15) 102 34.5 17.5 0 3 0
2022: (13/13) 51 17.0 10.0 0 2 1
Total: (41/41) 205 62.0 34.5 1 5 1
HISTORY — from school profile
2022: Finished his three years at UA ranked second on Alabama's career sacks list with 34.5 (-201 yards), trailing only Derrick Thomas ... also second inUA history behind Thomas in tackles for loss with 62 (-272 yards) ... two-time Nagurski Trophy winner, only the second player in the award's history to take home the honors twice ... recipient of the Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's top defender ... named the Rotary Lombardi winner ... also honored with the Lott IMPACT Trophy which recognizes a player for their performance on the field and character off the field ... joined Manti Te'o as the only two players to sweep all four awards ... a unanimous All-American (AFCA, Associated Press, FWAA, The Sporting News, Walter Camp) for the second straight year ... also a first team All-American at linebacker by CBS Sports and USA Today and at edge defender by ESPN.com and Pro Football Focus ... selected as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by both the AP and the league coaches ... led the SEC and tied for sixth in the country in sacks with 10 (-54 yards) ... also paced the conference and tied for eighth nationally with 17 tackles for loss (-72 yards) ... totaled 51 tackles on the year ... contributed a team-leading 12 quarterback hurries ... also recorded one pass breakup, a blocked field goal and an interception that he returned 25 yards for a touchdown ... selected as a semifinalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year ... earned midseason All-America honors from by CBS, TSN and the AP ... tabbed to the preseason watch lists for the Nagurski along with the Bednarik, Lombardi and Lott ... also earned watch list recognition for the Maxwell and Walter Camp, both of which recognize the top player in college football at any position ... a preseason first team All-America candidate by the AP, PFF, TSN and Walter Camp ... named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his effort against Vanderbilt ... selected as one of the defensive players of the week by the Alabama coaching staff for his play against ULM, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Austin Peay and Auburn. Utah State: Recorded five tackles, including one for loss (-4 yards), while adding one quarterback hurry. Texas: Finished with five tackles, including two for loss (-11 yards) ... also notched a key sack (-7 yards) late in the game on third down to force a Longhorn field goal. ULM: Picked off his first career pass, returning the interception 25 yards for a touchdown ... added five tackles, including 1.5 for loss (-5 yards) and one sack (-3 yards). Vanderbilt: Led the Tide with 2.5 sacks (-16 yards) and three tackles for loss (-17 yards) ... recorded five total tackles on the night. Arkansas: Totaled seven tackles, including 1.5 for loss (-8 yards) and half a sack (-4 yards). Texas A&M: Spent the night in the Aggie backfield, recording eight quarterback hurries - one short of the Crimson Tide's single-game record set by Derrick Thomas ... finished with two tackles, including one for loss (-1 yard), to go with his pressures. Tennessee: Recorded three tackles, including half a tackle for loss (-1 yard). Mississippi State: Finished with four tackles, including 1.5 for loss (-2 yards) and one sack (-2 yards) ... also pressured the State quarterback once. LSU: Totaled two tackles, including one sack (-4 yards). Ole Miss: Provided consistent pressure up front all afternoon ... finished with four tackles, including one sack (-7 yards). Austin Peay: Recorded four tackles against the Governors ... added one pass breakup that he nearly picked off. Auburn: Spent the day in the Tigers' backfield ... finished with five total tackles, including three tackles for loss (-12 yards) and two sacks (-11 yards) ... also contributed two quarterback hurries. Kansas State: Provided pressure off the edge all day in his final game with the Crimson Tide.
2021: Selected as the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner, presented annually to the nation's top defensive player ... unanimous first team All-American (AFCA, Associated Press, FWAA, The Sporting News, Walter Camp) ... also earned first-team honors from CBS Sports, ESPN.com, Pro Football Focus and USA Today ... named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by both the AP and the conference coaches ... also earned All-SEC First Team honors from both groups ... selected as one of the Crimson Tide's permanent team captains for the 2021 ... led the nation in tackles for loss with 34.5 (-148 yards), a total that finished second in the Alabama single-season ranks ... also contributed 17.5 sacks (-108 yards) to pace all Division I defenders and rank third in UA single-season history ... accumulated 102 total tackles, good for second on UA, while adding a team-high nine quarterback hurries to go with three pass breakups ... was a finalist for the Bednarik Award ... semifinalist for the Lombardi and Walter Camp Player of the Year awards ... selected as a midseason All-American by the AP, TSN and CBS Sports ... tabbed to the Bednarik, Butkus, Lombardi, Nagurski and Walter Camp Player of the Year watch lists entering 2021 ... selected as a preseason All-American by multiple outlets, earning first-team honors from the AP, TSN and Walter Camp ... also named a third-teamer by PFF ... earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts against Florida, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU and Auburn ... selected as the Bednarik Award Player of the Week for his play against the Rebels, Bulldogs and Tigers ... named the Bronko Nagurski Player of the Week for his efforts in Starkville ... earned defensive player of the week recognition from the UA coaching staff for his play against Miami, Florida, Southern Miss, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, LSU, New Mexico State, Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia and Cincinnati. Miami: Led the Tide defense with nine stops, including one sack (-4 yards). Mercer: Exited the game early with a lower leg injury ... recorded three tackles with one for loss (-1 yard) in his limited minutes. Florida: Finished with seven total tackles while also adding a quarterback hurry ... his tackles total included a team-high and career-best 3.5 for loss (-8 yards). Southern Miss: Posted a team-high three tackles for loss (-15 yards) as part of his five stops ... added one sack (-10 yards) while also recording a quarterback hurry. Ole Miss: Picked up multiple weekly honors thanks to his standout performance against the Rebels ... totaled a team-high 2.5 tackles for loss (-9 yards) to go with one sack (-6 yards) as part of his nine total stops ... also added a pair of quarterback hurries. Texas A&M: Recorded six tackles against the Aggies. Mississippi State: Earned multiple national weekly honors for his dominant play in Starkville ... finished with four sacks (-35 yards) as part of his six total tackles ... became just the third player in Alabama history to record four-plus sacks in a game, joining Derrick Thomas and Leroy Cook ... also broke up one pass while being credited with six quarterback hurries by the Crimson Tide coaching staff. Tennessee: Led the Alabama defense in tackles with eight, including two more sacks (-3 yards). LSU: Finished with a game-high and career-best 12 tackles, including eight solo stops ... posted four tackles for loss (-13 yards) and 1.5 sacks (-8 yards) as part of his 12 stops ... also contributed two quarterback hurries and a pass breakup. New Mexico State: Made three tackles - all of which went for a loss (-8 yards) ... also contributed two sacks (-6 yards) to help the Tide defense accumulate a season-high tying seven (-35 yards) by day's end. Arkansas: Recorded 11 tackles to tie for second on the UA defense ... notched a team-high 3.5 tackles for loss (-17 yards) to go with one sack (-7 yards) against the Hogs. Auburn: Finished with seven stops in the Iron Bowl ... contributed a team-high three tackles for loss (-15 yards) as part of the Tide's season-high 15 in the game ... also added one sack (-11 yards) to his stat line. Georgia: Dominated up front against the Bulldogs' highly regarded offensive line unit ... totaled six tackles in the game, including two for loss (-8 yards) and one sack (-6 yards) ... also added one quarterback hurry. Cincinnati: Earned Defensive Most Valuable Player honors in the Cotton Bowl ... led the Alabama defense with two sacks (-12 yards) while tying for the team-high mark in tackles for loss with two ... the pair of tackles were a part of his six total stops against the Bearcats. Georgia: Fought through double-teams all evening, finishing with four tackles and a pass breakup.
2020: Earned the starting job at jack linebacker during the fall ... selected as the Shaun Alexander-FWAA Freshman of the Year ... picked up Freshman All-America honors from the FWAA, 247 Sports and The Athletic ... named to the SEC All-Freshman Team ... earned second team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press ... finished third in the SEC in sacks with seven (-39 yards) while also ranking third in tackles for loss at 10.5 (-52 yards) ... started every game in his first season at the Capstone and totaled 52 tackles to go with a forced fumble and a team-high eight quarterback pressures ... also blocked one field goal in the CFP Semifinal ... added to the Bednarik Award Watch List prior to the Kentucky game ... picked up defensive player of the week honors from the Alabama coaching staff for his play against Mississippi State, LSU, Florida and Notre Dame ... also earned special teams player of the week accolades for his play against the Fighting Irish. Missouri: Started the season opener and made an immediate impact ... recorded three tackles and was credited with three quarterback pressures by the Tide coaches in the opener. Texas A&M: Made a second straight start at outside linebacker ... totaled three more tackles, including his first for loss (-4 yards) ... added one quarterback hurry against the Aggies. Ole Miss: Continued to excel in the starter role, finishing with five tackles against the Rebels. Georgia: Pressured the UGA quarterback while adding four stops in the top-three matchup. Tennessee: Recorded two tackles against the Vols. Mississippi State: Was nearly unblockable against the Bulldogs ... finished his night with five total tackles, including two for loss (-8 yards) ... added two quarterback pressures off the edge ... selected as one of the defensive players of the week by the UA coaching staff for his efforts against State. Kentucky: Came off the edge for two quarterback pressures ... added one tackle on day. Auburn: Picked up his first sack (-12 yards) of the season as part of his 1.5 tackles for loss (-13 yards) against the Tigers ... finished with four total tackles while adding two quarterback pressures to his team-leading total. LSU: Proved to be a problem for the Tiger offensive line all night ... finished with a team-high two sacks (-9 yards), part of the Tide's season-high five on the night ... the sacks were part of his team-high tying eight total tackles ... earned defensive player of the week honors from the UA coaching staff for his play in Death Valley. Arkansas: Contributed to the Tide's season-high eight sacks in the game with two of his own (-9 yards). Florida: Tied for the team lead in tackles with six, including a team-high five solo stops ... contributed two sacks (-9 yards) to the Crimson Tide's five on the evening ... also added one forced fumble, part of five forced fumbles by UA ... selected as one of the defensive players of the week by the Alabama coaches for his play in Atlanta. Notre Dame: Picked up defensive and special teams player of the week recognition from the UA coaching staff for his standout efforts on both sides of the ball in the CFP Semifinal ... totaled six tackles along the defensive front while providing pressure all afternoon ... added a blocked field goal on the ND try, the Crimson Tide's first blocked three-point try since 2017. Ohio State: Recorded three tackles against the Buckeyes.
High school: Coached by Clifford Fedd at Dutchtown High School in Hampton, Ga. ... A consensus four-star prospect by all major outlets ... rated as a top-10 player in the state of Georgia by 247Sports, ESPN.com and on the 247Composite ... the No. 5 weakside defensive end and No. 87 player nationally by 247 and the sixth-rated weakside defender to go with a No. 97 ranking on the Composite ... the No. 55 recruit on the ESPN300 and sixth-ranked defensive end by the site ... also tabbed the No. 23 player in the Southeast Region by ESPN ... No. 159 on the Rivals250 by Rivals.com ... that same site lists him as the 11th-rated weakside defensive end and No. 17 player in Georgia ... member of the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team as the No. 116 recruit in the country ... selected to play in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas ... earned first team all-state honors from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2019 ... also selected to the AJC’s “Super 11” as a senior ... totaled 22 sacks and 15 tackles for loss in his final season, playing a major role on a Dutchtown defense that allowed an average of just 7.7 points per game ... selected as the Henry Herald’s 2018 All-County Defensive Player of the Year following his junior season.
Signed with the Crimson Tide over Auburn, LSU and Tennessee among his nearly 40 offers.