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Piling on: Bednarik Award newest addition to Anderson’s collection

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. was honored Wednesday with the Bednarik Award, which is given to the best defensive player in the nation.

The 2021 All-American also took home this week the Nagurski Award, another honor given to the nation’s best defensive player, and the Rotary Lombardi Award, a recognition as being college football’s best lineman, linebacker or tight end.

Anderson, a junior at the Capstone, is projected to be an early first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

“Right now, I’m just enjoying the moment, enjoying all the awards shows,” Anderson said, when asked about his future plans – including next month’s Sugar Bowl. “Getting to spend time with my family has been one of my biggest priorities right now. I’m still working out with the team. I still have a conversation to have with Coach (Nick) Saban.

“But right now, I’m just living in the moment and enjoying the whole process.”

Anderson becomes the Tide’s third Bednarik Award winner, all of which have come under Saban. He joins defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (2016) and defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (2017) in earning the distinction.

In his collegiate career, Anderson has recorded 204 tackles and 34.5 sacks. He trails only Derrick Thomas, a Tide linebacker from 1985-88, who had 52 sacks.

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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