Editor’s note: Coming off its fourth national championship in seven seasons, Alabama returns a ton of talent, and has a great opportunity to repeat as champions in 2016.
Over the next few weeks, SEC Country will take a look at Alabama’s 25 most important players. Obviously, there’ll be coaches and other key members around the program who’ll have a big impact on the team’s success. But this list is strictly for the top 25 players for the Crimson Tide heading into 2016.
6. Ryan Anderson
A case can be made that Anderson was the most underrated player on Alabama’s entire defense last season.
Anderson was a key part of Alabama’s rotation, finishing with six sacks, which ranked in the top 15 in the SEC.
But Anderson never got the press clippings his production warranted because of other more high-profile teammates.
The pass rushing ability is obviously there, but his frame also allows him to set the edge like Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban and the coaching staff desire.
To go with his six sacks, Anderson had 37 total tackles, including 11.5 tackles for loss last season. He forced two fumbles, recovered two fumbles and had nine quarterback hurries. His best work came down the stretch of the season as he totaled 9.5 of his tackles for loss in Alabama’s last 10 games.
Anderson also has game-changing ability which he showed against Tennessee. His sack and forced fumble on the Vols’ final drive of the game got the ball back for Alabama and helped the Tide extend its streak to nine straight victories over Tennessee.
With Denzel Devall and Dillon Lee gone, Anderson stepped into a full-time first-team role with Alabama’s defense this spring. He had five tackles and a sack during Alabama’s A-Day spring game.
Heading into his fifth and final year in Tuscaloosa, Anderson is also a player who could help with making the checks and adjustments.
Coming Monday: An elite pass rusher
- No. 7 Calvin Ridley
- No. 8 O.J. Howard
- No. 9 Eddie Jackson
- No. 10 Marlon Humphrey
- No. 11 Minkah Fitzpatrick
- No. 12 Cooper Bateman/David Cornwell/Blake Barnett/Jalen Hurts
- No. 13 Robert Foster
- No. 14 Da’Shawn Hand
- No. 15 Da’Ron Payne
- No. 16 ArDarius Stewart
- No. 17 Shaun Dion Hamilton
- No. 18 Dalvin Tomlinson
- No. 19 Ronnie Harrison
- No. 20 Ross Pierschbacher
- No. 21 Lester Cotton
- No. 22 JK Scott
- No. 23 Rashaan Evans
- No. 24 Jonah Williams
- No. 25 Adam Griffith