Crimson Tide linebacker, Will Anderson, and defensive back, Josh Jobe, have been named to the preseason watchlist for the Bednarik Trophy, awarded to the top defensive player in college football.

Despite Alabama stars headlining the preseason watchlist nearly every season, the Crimson Tide have only taken the award home twice with Jonathan Allen in 2016 and Minkah Fitzpatrick in 2017. As the 2021 season quickly approaches, the Alabama defense looks primed for a historic year and both of these players are ready for excellent seasons of their own.

Will Anderson, who led the SEC in quarterback pressures last season and finished third in the conference in sacks with seven, is entering his sophomore season with an incredible amount hype. In 2020, Anderson's true freshman season, he displayed elite pass rushing skills and was a thorn in the side of opposing offenses from his first snap in week one.

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He earned a plethora of accolades in his first year, being named the Shaun Alexander-FWAA Freshman of the Year and earning SEC All-Freshman honors. Although just his first year, Anderson quickly solidified himself as one of the most important pieces of the Crimson Tide's defense and is poised to build on that this season.

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On the back end of the defense, Alabama features another budding star in Josh Jobe. After spending his last few seasons in the shadow of Patrick Surtain II, but playing exceptionally well in that role, Jobe enters 2021 with his first chance to be the anchor of the Crimson Tide secondary.

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2020 was Jobe's first season as a full-time starter and he was able to take advantage of that role. Although Surtain was the clear headliner of Alabama's secondary, Jobe quietly played at a very high level, totaling 55 tackles and eleven pass breakups. Jobe's coverages stats were remarkable in 2020 as well, allowing just 26 receptions and one touchdown on 521 coverage snaps.

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The 2021 season is a chance for Alabama's defense to reclaim their place as one of the premier units in college football after a somewhat disappointing 2020, and these two players will be crucial pieces in achieving that. Whether or not either of these players takes home the award is likely the last thing in their minds, but both are just as likely shoo-ins for it.

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