TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — On Monday evening, the finalists for the Heisman Trophy were announced. For fans of Alabama football, the announcement of four of the top players in college football this season was a bittersweet one.
Crimson Tide sophomore quarterback Bryce Young was named as one of the finalists. One of the top favorites to win the Heisman all season, Young's odds skyrocketed following his impressive performance last weekend in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia. While fans were certainly excited to see their favorite quarterback be named a finalist for the most prestigious award the game has to offer, a certain amount of disappointment also came along with it.
While Young was named a finalist, Alabama sophomore linebacker Will Anderson Jr. was not. With the other three finalists being Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Michigan defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson, fans were outraged at Anderson being 'snubbed' from being named a finalist.
On Tuesday, Anderson got the opportunity to say his stance on the matter.
“Yeah that’s still kind of the same thing that I’m on right now, just getting to a national championship,” Anderson said. “But you know, it’s God’s plan, it’s not my plan, so I’m just following what God’s got for me and I’m just going to keep on rolling. We good. Bryce is there, we straight.
“I have nothing to prove to anybody. It’s all what I do. Nobody’s expectations are higher for me, nobody’s standards are higher for me. It’s all about what I do and the expectations I have for myself. So I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing this whole season.”
At Sunday's Alabama Football Awards Banquet, Anderson was named Most Inspiring Player by his teammates. The award came after Anderson led college football this season with 15.5 sacks and 31.5 tackles for loss. Combined with his leadership on the field despite being just a sophomore, it's no surprise that Anderson's teammates awarded him the honor.
While Anderson might not really care if he was snubbed for the Heisman Trophy — or at least not acknowledge his disappointment publicly — Young was quick to note how he felt on the matter.
“Yeah definitely, I definitely think he was deserving,” Young said. “If you look at numbers, you look at production, I definitely think he deserves to be there. It’s unfortunate that he’s not going to be able to be there. It really sucks, but I definitely think he should be there.”
Fellow teammate in junior wide receiver Jameson Williams also chimed in.
“I think he was more than deserving of a spot in New York,” Williams said. “Will has had one of the best seasons that I’ve ever seen a defensive player have. He’s been a great add to the team, he’s done very well on the defensive side of the ball helping the offense get the ball back a bunch of times.
"He’s just played his role and he’s been a very good player and a very good person to the team this whole season. My pitch would have been for Will to be in the Heisman race, too.”
With Michigan's Hutchinson being the only defensive finalist for the Heisman Trophy, a lot of unfair criticism has been thrown his way after Anderson's snub. While Anderson certainly had an impressive season, Hutchinson also did a solid job as the heart and soul of the Wolverines' defense. On the season, Hutchinson totaled 58 tackles, with 15.5 being for a loss including 14 sacks.
Anderson extended his congratulations to Hutchinson for being named a finalist.
“I’ve seen a couple of things on, like, the internet and stuff like that,” Anderson said. “He’s a hell of a player. He’s very physical, he can rush the passer so all credit to him. Congratulations to him as well.”