Nick Saban in Bryce Young, Will Anderson Jr. in the Sugar Bowl
If quarterback Bryce Young and linebacker Will Anderson Jr. never play another college game again after the Iron Bowl in November, they will already be two of the best players to ever play for the Alabama football team.
Young won the Heisman Trophy in 2021, something no Crimson Tide quarterback has ever done. Meanwhile, Anderson is the only Crimson Tide player to be a two-time unanimous All-American. This is the simplest and quickest way to describe their three-year supremacy at Alabama, but too many accolades and intangibles could be listed for the two-time perennial leaders.
These efforts have made them all top NFL draft prospects. ESPN has the MVPs right now for 2023.
It made sense for them to opt out of the Sugar Bowl. There’s not much they can do for Anderson and Young to boost their stocks. Plus, there’s nothing but pride to play when Alabama (10-2) takes on Kansas State (10-3) on Dec. 31 (11 a.m. PT, ESPN). Even Nick Saban said he would understand players to make a trading decision if the risk was higher than the reward.
There’s really no point in Young and Anderson playing the bowl game other than getting a chance to win one last game with their teammates.
Well, that’s what they chose. They were out working with their teammates when bowl practices began on Friday.
Add another chapter to the legend of Bryce Young and Will Anderson Jr.
Alabama Football:Alabama Football Club vs. Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl: Our Predictions for the Score, Scouting Report
Alabama basketball:Alabama AD Greg Byrne vs. Mark Gonzaga Shorty in one-on-one basketball? It has happened before
“These two guys are great competitors,” Saban said. “That’s why they want to play. They want to continue to create value for themselves, be good teammates and help their teammates play well in the game. That makes it old-fashioned in a lot of ways, but I kind of respect that.”
Saban said he told both of them that what they wanted was their choice. He also discussed with them the pros and cons.
Alabama also emphasized Young and Anderson “the best we could,” Saban said, to minimize potential injury damage incurred in the game.
“As much as you can risk it for them,” Saban said.
Depending on the scope of casualty insurance, there are still some risks involved. Injury insurance can make up for it, but it can’t get NFL team Young Men or Anderson into the top 15 if the worst happens and they sustain serious injuries against Kansas State. They deserve to be an early first-round draft pick. Heck, one of them could be Alabama’s first overall Saban-dynasty selection. Talk about a medal.
They risk this potential achievement by playing this game, but they play anyway.
“He sets a great example of players who respect their teammates and want to be part of their team,” said Saban.
It also adds to the myth that fans will be telling years from now about Young and Anderson’s remarkable careers.
Most players would probably drop out if they were in Anderson and Young’s shoes. Most will likely realize that there is not much they can do to boost their draft stock, and most will likely decide to cut that stock.
Young and Anderson aren’t most players.
Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and basketball for The Tuscaloosa News / USA TODAY Network. You can reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly.
#Nick #Saban #Bryce #Young #Anderson #Sugar #Bowl