Many upperclassmen contributed to Alabama’s 18th National Championship title this season. Several underclassmen proved they have a bright future in Tuscaloosa. From the first game of the 2020 season, two true freshmen created a significant impact for the Crimson Tide. These players, despite their lack of experience, contributed significantly to helping Alabama win their third College Football Playoff National Championship in six years. In their first year, these two players have shown to have a huge future at Alabama.
Most Impactful Freshmen For Alabama In 2020
Will Anderson Jr. – Outside Linebacker
Before the season, Alabama was looking for several players to step up at several positions. At jack linebacker, Alabama needed to find a strong but fast pass-rushing linebacker. It was a surprise to see a true freshman start for one of the most important positions for Alabama in game one. Against the Missouri Tigers, Will Anderson Jr. was a tough player, who rarely showed mistakes in tackling or his pass rush. Anderson accumulated 20 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, and seven sacks in four straight weeks against Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, and Florida in the SEC Championship.
Anderson plays with speed and strength as well as the consistency of getting into the backfield. In the CFB Semi-Final matchup against Notre Dame, Anderson accounted for six solo tackles. Anderson finished the season with 52 total tackles, 34 solo tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and seven sacks. His tremendous impact on-the-field made him one of the most effective playmakers in the front seven. Anderson was named a first-team Freshman All-American by 247 Sports and the Athletic. He was named Football Writers Association of America’s Shaun Alexander National Freshman Player of the Year. With his experience in his first year and his playmaking abilities, Anderson has the potential to be a future All-American and one of the most dominant defensive players for Alabama.
Malachi Moore – Slot Corner/Star
Much like the jack linebacker position, the star is one of the most important positions for Alabama’s defense. Throughout the last month of the offseason, true freshman defensive back Malachi Moore was separating himself from the rest of the competing players. Moore had a rough start to the season as the starting slot cornerback. He had one of the lowest grades following the game against Ole Miss where Alabama allowed 647 total yards.
Despite a rocky start to the season, Moore has stepped up his efficiency in coverage skills. Through the last seven games of the regular season, Moore only allowed 151 yards and seven first downs. According to Pro Football Focus, Moore was the highest-graded slot cornerback going into the College Football Playoffs. He has become one of the Tide’s most reliable coverage players after those three games. Moore was selected as a Freshman All-American by 247 Sports and the Athletics and as a second-team All-SEC. Moore will go into the season as one of the most versatile defensive players for the Tide. His role expands next season as his experience and reliability grew.
Tide Going Forward With Star Players And Potential New Freshmen
Both Anderson and Moore will go into the offseason as leaders of the Tide’s defense. These will be players that will be the faces of the team. There will be other players to step their productivity in the 2021 College Football season but Anderson and Moore will be the most impactful on and off the field. Much like Anderson and Moore were surprise starters at the start of the 2020 season there several incoming recruits or early enrollees could potentially be new starters for Alabama in 2021. The tackle position might be filled by early enrollees JC Latham or Tommy Brockermeyer. 2020 Mr. Alabama Football Award Winner Ga’Quincy McKinstry could be the replacement for Patrick Surtain II. There will be plenty of time in the offseason for these young players to potentially contribute early as a starter.