Who Alabama football star Will Anderson Jr. said brought 'fireball' energy to 2022 preparation

Jerell Rushin
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football edge defender Will Anderson Jr. enters the 2022 season coming off a sophomore year in which he won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation's top defender.

His focus is improving ahead of his junior season when he had 34.5 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks, both the most in the nation.

Anderson has been working with new outside linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler, who spent 2021 as special teams coordinator at Ole Miss. Hutzler is also Alabama's special teams coordinator.

"It's been good, he's full of energy," Anderson told the Tuscaloosa News at the Nike Football Skills Camp at Hillcrest High School. "He pumps the room up. He brings that younger feeling to the room a little bit more. He's like a fireball. He has so much energy, but it's been great.

"He knows a lot, but he's young. He's been doing a good job connecting with us, getting to know us, so it's been fun. I can't wait for the season to start."

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Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. coaches young football players at the Nike Football Skills Camp at Hillcrest High School, Wednesday June 15, 2022. [Photo/Will McLelland]

Alabama's defense returns nine starters from the College Football Playoff championship game. The Crimson Tide could have a top pass rusher at edge with Dallas Turner, who had 8.5 sacks in 2021, opposite of Anderson.

After spring practice, Anderson trained more with his Alabama coaches instead of a pass rush specialist.

"I've just been working on myself with my coaches, coach Holtzer and Sal Sunseri," Anderson said. "They've been doing a good job of helping me (and the graduate assistants like) Jamey Mosley and (football analyst) George Banko.

"They've all been doing a really good job of helping me, so I don't really have to go nowhere and get help from others because we have great coaches here as well."

Jerell Rushin is a recruiting reporter for the Tuscaloosa News and the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at jrushin@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @JerellRushin_.