Count Alabama quarterback and Heisman Trophy favorite Bryce Young among those surprised that teammate Will Anderson Jr. wasn’t among the four finalists for the award.
“I definitely think he was deserving,” Young told reporters Tuesday. “If you look at numbers, you look at production, I definitely think he deserves to be there. It’s unfortunate that he’s not going to be there.”
In addition to Anderson’s 92 tackles, he leads the country in both tackles for loss (32.5) and sacks (15.5). On Monday, he won the Nagurski Award, given to the best defensive player in college football.
Michigan defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson, who was among the four Heisman finalists named Monday, has 55 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks.
Anderson called Hutchinson a “hell of a player” and congratulated him on being considered for the award. He also reiterated that his focus is on winning a national championship.
Besides, Anderson said, “Bryce is there. We straight.”
“I have nothing to prove to anybody,” Anderson said. “It’s all what I do. Nobody’s expectations are higher for me. … I’m just gonna keep doing what I’ve been doing this whole season.”
Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams also said he would’ve liked to have seen his teammate get more Heisman consideration.
“I think he was more than deserving of a spot in New York,” Williams said. “Will has had one of the best seasons I’ve ever seen a defensive player have.”
The last defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy came in 1997, when Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson, who also returned punts and spent some time at receiver, took home the award.
Ohio State‘s Chase Young was the last defensive player to be named a Heisman finalist in 1997, when he had 46 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks.
In addition to Young and Hutchinson, the other Heisman finalists this season are Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud.
Young is the betting favorite at -4000 odds at Caesars Sportsbook, followed by Hutchinson at 20-1. Stroud and Pickett are each 30-1.
Young, a sophomore, is vying to become the first Alabama quarterback to win the Heisman after scoring 46 touchdowns this season (three rushing) with only four interceptions.
The opportunity to do that, Young said, is “something I don’t take for granted.”
“To even get an opportunity to go after an accomplishment like this, I’m truly grateful to be in the position that I am.”