TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama football’s Will Anderson Jr., DJ Dale, Christian Harris, Josh Jobe, Phidarian Mathis and Malachi Moore have been named to the 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List announced today by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
The Crimson Tide players are among 90 candidates from around the country named to the preseason list for Nagurski, recognizing the nation’s top defensive player. Jonathan Allen is the Crimson Tide’s lone recipient, collecting the honors in 2016.
WILL ANDERSON JR.
- An elite edge defender who made his presence known across college football in 2020
- Returns for his second season with the Crimson Tide after being selected as the Shaun Alexander-FWAA Freshman of the Year and earning multiple Freshman All-America honors a season ago
- Started every game as a freshman, totaling 52 tackles including 10.5 for loss (-52 yards) and seven sacks (-39 yards), to go with a forced fumble and team-high eight quarterback hurries
- Ranked third in the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss at season’s end
- Applied 60 pressures (according to Pro Football Focus) through his 13 starts to lead the nation and more than double the next-closest freshman defender
Defensive Lineman, Junior
- Made an immediate impact as a freshman and continued to see success as a sophomore last season
- A veteran of 23 career games with 22 starts along the Tide’s defensive front
- Totaled 22 tackles, including one for loss (-2 yards), to go with two pass breakups and a fumble recovery in 2020
- Excelled during fall camp of his freshman season to earn the starting job at nose tackle, playing in 10 games before injuries ended his year early
- Recorded 17 tackles, including three for loss (-8 yards), while adding a sack (-6 yards), one quarterback pressure and a fumble recovery in 2019
- Looking to etch his name on the Tide’s list of standout linebackers now in his junior season
- Earned Freshman All-America honors in 2019 and retained his starting role in 2020, finishing second on the Tide defense in tackles with 79
- Totaled seven tackles for loss (-31 yards) and 4.5 sacks (-28 yards) while adding six quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and an interception in 2020
- Selected to the Freshman All-SEC Team to go with his Freshman All-America honors in 2019 after playing in all 13 games with 12 starts
- Led the SEC’s first-year defenders in tackles for loss at 7.5 (-14 yards) as part of his 63 tackles that finished seventh among the league’s freshmen
Defensive Back, Senior
- A talented corner in the Crimson Tide’s veteran defensive backfield
- Excelled in his first season as a full-time starter, earning Honorable Mention All-America honors from Pro Football Focus in 2020
- Totaled 55 tackles as a junior, including 2.5 for loss (-9 yards) and two sacks (-9 yards), while adding 11 pass breakups to go with two forced fumbles and one quarterback pressure
- Allowed one reception every 20.0 coverage snaps in 2020 to rank sixth nationally, according to PFF, and gave up just 26 receptions for 209 yards and one touchdown on 521 coverage snaps
- Began his career by playing in 14 games of the 2018 season before seeing time in 12 contests with two starts as a sophomore
Defensive Lineman, Redshirt Senior
- One of the leaders on the Tide defense who has played in 40 career contests with eight starts to his name entering the 2021 campaign
- Put together a standout junior season, totaling 31 tackles with five for loss (-10 yards) and 1.5 sacks (-6 yards)
- Added three quarterback pressures, three pass breakups and one forced fumble to his 2020 totals
- Racked up 27 tackles, including half a stop for loss, to go with two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble across his 12 games of action and two starts as a sophomore
- Played in all 15 games as a freshman, recording 18 tackles and a fumble recovery on his way to SEC All-Freshman Team honors in 2018
Defensive Back, Sophomore
- Made an immediate impact on the Tide defense as a true freshman, earning the starting job at star a season ago
- Saw time in 11 games before injuries held him out of the College Football Playoff but still managed multiple Freshman All-America accolades to go with a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team
- Rated as one of the top slot defenders in the nation last season, according to Pro Football Focus
- Led the UA defense with four forced turnovers in 2020, including a team-high three interceptions to go with a forced fumble that he recovered for a scoop-and-score
- Racked up 44 tackles, including four for loss (-8 yards), to go with six pass breakups and two quarterback pressures
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy has been presented annually since 1993 by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America to recognize the top defensive player in college football. The award is named in honor of college and NFL Hall of Famer Bronko Nagurski. The 2021 winner will be announced at the Charlotte Touchdown Club’s annual awards banquet in December of this year.
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