ATLANTA – At 2022 SEC Media Days in Atlanta, Crimson Tide Linebacker WIll Anderson Jr. answered numerous questions from the media. Anderson, last season’s Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner, (awarded to the nation’s best defensive player), led the team and nation in tackles for loss (34.5), reflected on the growing pains last season.

Outside of losing to SEC rival Georgia 33-18 in the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Anderson had six tackles in Alabama’s 41-38 loss to Texas A&M. Anderson admitted he did not play to his high standards.

“I can honestly say that there is one of the times in my career at Alabama where I wasn’t on my game as I should have been,” said Anderson when asked which game helped him grow as a player. “I beat myself up about that all the time. After that time, I had to reel myself back in (and think about) the next steps you got to improve. That’s one of the games where I was hard on myself and the rest is history.”

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson and defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis raise the SEC Championship trophy after winning the 2021 SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, December 4, 2021. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Since that game, Anderson put on a historic defensive performance averaging 6.8 tackles and 1.7 sacks per game. He finished the season with 102 tackles and 17.5 sacks. The only game he did not record a sack was the College Football Playoff National Championship game against Georgia.

As Anderson transitions into his junior season, he is using the loss in the national championship to fuel his fire. He said defensive players are worthy enough to win the Heisman Trophy.

“We still have that feeling,” Anderson said.