Former Dutchtown and Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. wins AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

Former Dutchtown star linebacker and current Houston Texans player Will Anderson Jr. was named AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year at the 2023 NFL Honors awards show held in Las Vegas.

The No. 3 pick out of the University of Alabama in the 2023 NFL draft totaled 45 tackles and seven sacks in his first season of professional football.

Anderson becomes the first Alabama player to win AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year since former Alabama linebacker and current head coach of the Houston Texans, DeMeco Ryans in 2006. The linebacker is the third former member of the Crimson Tide to win the award including himself, his head coach, and Derrick Thomas in 1989.

The Houston Texans traded their first and a second round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft as well as a first and third rounder in the upcoming NFL Draft to select Anderson with the third pick. This comes just one pick after the Texans selected Offensive Rookie of the Year, C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State, with the second pick of the draft.

Before becoming a member of the Houston Texans and before his playing days at Alabama, Anderson dominated the high school football field for Dutchtown High School in Hampton.

Anderson, the Hampton-native, was a 5-star prospect coming out of Dutchtown and committed to Alabama after receiving offers from big college football programs across the country. In his senior season at Dutchtown, Anderson totaled 22 tackles for loss and 15 sacks, dominating the competition.

Anderson beat out future NFL stars to win Rookie Defensive Player of the Year such as Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Jalen Carter, Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Kobe Turner, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devin Witherspoon and Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr.


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