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Jumbo Package: Will Anderson wins Nagurski and SEC DPOY, transfer portal has record day

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Auburn at Alabama Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Portal season officially kicked off yesterday, and boy was it a doozy. The biggest name on Alabama’s list is Tommy Brockermeyer, though his brother James is apparently sticking around, and the offensive line has seen a mass exodus.

Starting left guard Javion Cohen, backup tackles Amari Kight and Damieon George, and backup center Tanner Bowles also intend to transfer.

Receivers Traeshon Holden, JoJo Earle and Christian Leary also entered the transfer portal. Holden had 25 catches for 331 yards with six touchdowns during the 2022 season. Leary and Holden had previously announced their intentions to transfer.

This actually isn’t an exorbitant number of transfers for the Alabama program if this is it and the new portal calendar has simply accelerated things. Alabama routinely loses several over the summer after early enrollees come in pushing for jobs though, so there may well be more to come.

Yesterday was a wild day for the sport in general.

Six ACC schools have lost the QB that started this season for them. Welcome to the new world, folks. We all knew it was coming. Yahoo has compiled a list of 20 players in the transfer portal that you need to know along with their “best fits” for each. They think that North Carolina CB Tony Grimes needs to be in Tuscaloosa. Guess we’ll see, don’t know much about the fellow.

Will Anderson, who we have been told in the comments section had a poor and lazy season, won his second straight Nagurski award as the best defensive player in America.

Linebacker Will Anderson won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy for a second straight year at a Monday night banquet in Charlotte. The award honors the nation’s top defensive player. The other finalists were Pittsburgh DT Calijah Kancey, Georgia safety Christopher Smith and USC defensive end Tuli Tuipulotu.

Named for the Minnesota star of the late 1920s, the trophy has been awarded annually since 1993. This is the third time it’s gone to an Alabama player as Jonathan Allen won in 2016 before Anderson the past two seasons.

Will also somehow managed to be voted SEC Defensive Player of the Year by the AP.

Hooker was picked as first-team quarterback and offensive player of the year on all but one ballot, with that nod going to Alabama’s Bryce Young in both cases. He suffered a season-ending left knee injury in a loss to South Carolina, finishing with 3,135 yards passing and 27 touchdown passes against just two interceptions.

Anderson was the unanimous pick as defensive player of the year. He has 51 tackles, 10 sacks and 17 tackles for loss along with a pick-six.

That list is pretty telling. Alabama has only one player on the first team offense: Emil Ekiyor. Jahmyr Gibbs joins Bryce on the second team, and that’s it on offense. Joining Anderson on the defensive first team are Byron Young and Kool-Aid McKinstry, while Jordan Battle and Brian Branch are second teamers. Will Reichard got the second team nod as well.

Tom Fornelli thinks that Alabama’s bowl game matchup is only the 19th most interesting this season.

This is a program that wants to win the SEC and a national title every season. It accomplished neither this year, and we’re probably going to see a lot of players opt out of this game, including last year’s Heisman winner Bryce Young and one of the nation’s best defensive players in Will Anderson.

That will stink because Kansas State is a genuinely good team, and it could beat Alabama even if the Tide didn’t have players opt out. Regardless, I want another chance to see Young and Anderson play in an Alabama uniform, and I don’t think we will get that chance. It takes a lot of the shine off this game. Now, that said, it’s still Alabama. The reserves are pretty talented, too, so there’s still a shot this game is great.

That “could” is doing a lot of work there. Yes Kansas State “could” beat Alabama at full strength if the breaks went their way, but barring some weird things it would be highly unlikely. In this game though? We’ll see what Alabama puts out on the field.

Ekiyor has accepted a Senior Bowl bid, so he will not be returning next season.

Ekiyor (6-foot-3, 307 pounds) was a fifth-year senior for the Crimson Tide with extensive playing experience. He started three seasons and led the team in knockdown blocks with 31 in his final campaign, which will conclude Dec. 31 in the Sugar Bowl against Kansas State.

With left guard Javion Cohen entering the NCAA’s transfer portal and Ekiyor, the Crimson Tide’s right guard, off to the Senior Bowl, Alabama will have to replace both its starting guards in 2023.

This might have something to do with the younger Brockermeyer’s decision to stay. Next question will be if Emil plays in the Sugar Bowl before the Senior Bowl. I would hope so.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.