DALLAS (FWAA) Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. became the first Crimson Tide defender since 1988 to have four sacks in a game and posted six total tackles in a 49-9 win at Mississippi State. For the record performance that puts him alongside names such as Derrick Thomas and Leroy Cook, Anderson earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Oct. 16, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
This is the eighth time for an Alabama player to earn the Bronko Nagurski Trophy weekly honor and the first since 2018. The Crimson Tide has a rich tradition with the award with finalists in 10 of the last 12 seasons and defensive end Jonathan Allen as the 2016 winner. Anderson was a member of the preseason Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list.
The four sacks put Anderson in the FBS lead in tackles for loss with 15, totaling 72 yards in losses on the season. Anderson's four sacks against MSU accounted for minus-35 yards as Alabama held the Bulldogs to 18.8 points below their season average and 72 yards below their passing average coming into the game. He also broke up one pass and was credited with six quarterback hurries.
The 6-4, 243-pound sophomore from Hampton, Ga., named the Shaun Alexander National Freshman Player of the Year last season by the FWAA after starting every game and leading the SEC and all national freshmen with 7.0 sacks while also adding 10.5 tackles for loss. His 52 total QB pressures were second nationally.
Alabama hosts Tennessee at 6 p.m. CT Saturday on ESPN.
Each Tuesday during the regular season, the FWAA has selected a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week since 2001. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce three finalists for the 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 17. The national defensive player of the year will be chosen from those finalists who are part of the 2021 FWAA All-America Team and presented with the trophy at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet presented by LendingTree on Dec. 6 at the Charlotte Convention Center
The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football's Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw "Bronko" Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Charlotte Touchdown Club
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club's activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1990, the club has raised and donated nearly $3 million to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or email@example.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.
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2021 Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Players of the Week
Weekend of Sept. 4: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
Weekend of Sept. 11: Verone McKinley III, S, Oregon
Weekend of Sept. 18: Jared Bartlett, DE, West Virginia
Weekend of Sept. 25: Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
Weekend of Oct. 2: Khoury Bethley, S, Hawaii
Weekend of Oct. 9: Matt Hankins, CB, Iowa
Weekend of Oct. 16: Will Anderson Jr., LB, Alabama
Weekend of Oct. 23: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE/LB, Oregon
Weekend of Oct. 30: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, DE, Kansas State
Weekend of Nov. 6: Steven Jones Jr., CB, App State
Bronko Nagurski Trophy (All-Time Winners, Finalists and Players of the Week)
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