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How freshman Will Anderson is giving Alabama the pass rush spark it needs

The moment that Will Anderson stepped on campus in Tuscaloosa as a true freshman from Hampton, Ga., the buzz started. It got stronger and stronger, even without spring practice. By the time the season arrived, it wasn’t all that surprising that the 6-foot-4, 235-pounder had earned a starting role on the Alabama defense.

You can name the players on defense in the Nick Saban era who’ve earned starting roles in their true freshman seasons, but it’s not for everyone. Football is a developmental game and players arrive in their own time. Marlon Humphrey was a first-round NFL Draft pick, but he didn’t play in his true freshman season at Alabama. So the ones ready near the beginnings of their careers stick out. Names like Rolando McClain, Dont’a Hightower and Minkah Fitzpatrick spring to mind. They are special players, and as such, much is expected of them.

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