TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama sophomore outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. was named the 2021 recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Monday evening. The award, organized by the Charlotte Touchdown Club, is given annually to recognize the best defensive player in college football and is voted on by the Football Writers Association of America.
Anderson was one of three finalists for the award. The other two nominees were Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis and Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux.
“First off, I would just like to start off by thanking God for this award,” Anderson said at the award’s banquet. “Without Him, none of this would be possible. I want to thank the FWAA, Charlotte Touchdown Club, the Nagurski family and I want to give a huge shout-out to my family for pushing me and loving me and getting me here.
"Next, I want to thank my coaches and teammates for helping me and pushing me to my limits every day and helping me be the best person I can. And to the University of Alabama, I want to say thank you guys for being the best fans ever and loving and supporting me and my family and Roll Tide. Thank you.”
Through Alabama's first 13 games of the season, Anderson has totaled 92 tackles with 52 of those tackles being solo. He also leads the nation in both tackles for loss and sacks with 32.5 and 15.5, respectively.
In the Crimson Tide's 41-24 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday in the SEC Championship Game, Anderson recorded six total tackles. Of those tackles, two were for a loss and included one sack.
Along with the Nagurski Trophy, Anderson is also a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which is organized by the Maxwell Club and is given annually to the nation's Defensive Player of the Year. Davis and Thibodeaux are also finalists with Anderson for the award, as well as Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton. The winner of the Bednarik Award will be announced on Thursday.
Here is more information on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, courtesy of the Charlotte Touchdown Club's website:
"Created in 1993 by the Football Writers Association of America, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy is awarded to the best defensive player in college football and is presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club. The award was established to complement the Heisman Trophy Award, which at the time had never been presented to a defensive player."
Gallery: Will Anderson Jr. 2021 Highlights
Images Courtesy of Alabama Athletics