Alabama stars Bryce Young (Alabama) and Will Anderson (Alabama) seem to be breaking the trend of potential top-10 picks skipping games in bowl.
Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN that he isn’t expecting any players to opt out of the Crimson Tide’s Dec. 31 Sugar Bowl matchup against Kansas State. Young and Anderson will both be playing. Both are widely anticipated to be among the first players selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.
It’s obvious why many star players have chosen to skip non-College Football Playoff games in recent years with the potential of NFL contracts on the horizon. For many players, the risk of getting injured in a game that’s basically an exhibition isn’t worth it. It’s also fun to see players like Young and Anderson also choose to play in the game so we can watch them play one last college football games.
Young, the 2021 Heisman award winner, has already missed one game this season because of injury. He injured his right throwing shoulder against Arkansas and missed the team’s subsequent game against Texas A&M in early October.
Young has been the Crimson Tide’s best offensive player again in 2022 and has thrown for 3,007 yards and 27 TDs while rushing for four more in 11 games.
Anderson was the dominant college football defensive player in 2021, with 31 tackles for losses and 17.5 sacks in 15 games. Alabama lost to Georgia in a national championship game. Anderson will be facing more opposition in 2022 as more teams focus their offensive gameplans on stopping him. He has 17 tackles for loss in 2022 and 10 sacks 2022.
The Crimson Tide would have 11 wins if they beat Kansas State. Since 2010, when Alabama was 10-3, Alabama has won at most 11 games consecutively. Alabama’s last loss of 10 games was in 2007, when it went 7-6. That was Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa.