Alabama's Bryce Young, Will Anderson Jr. Won't Opt out of Sugar Bowl vs. Kansas State

Erin WalshDecember 16, 2022

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - NOVEMBER 26:  Bryce Young #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide warms up prior to facing the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Alabama Crimson Tide will have two of their best players available for their Dec. 31 matchup against the Kansas State Wildcats after all.

Quarterback Bryce Young and linebacker Will Anderson Jr. plan to play in the Sugar Bowl, head coach Nick Saban told ESPN's Chris Low on Friday. Saban added the Crimson Tide aren't expecting any players will opt out of the game.

Young and Anderson are both expected to declare for the 2023 NFL draft. Their decision to play in Alabama's non-playoff bowl game is a surprise as many top draft picks over the years have opted out of their respective bowl games to avoid injury ahead of the draft.

With both Young and Anderson in the lineup, Alabama should undoubtedly have the edge over Kansas State.

The Crimson Tide finished the season 10-2 and just missed out on a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Young, who won the Heisman Trophy last season as the best player in college football, is in the midst of another strong season despite missing time with an injury to his throwing shoulder.

The junior quarterback has completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 3,007 yards and 27 touchdowns against five interceptions in 11 games, in addition to rushing for 195 yards and four scores.

Anderson, meanwhile, won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy for the second straight season as the best defender in college football after posting 10 sacks, 51 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, one interception and one pass breakup in 12 games.

The 2022 campaign has been a disappointing one for Alabama. In addition to dropping two games and missing out on the CFP, the Crimson Tide also didn't appear in the SEC Championship Game.

Regardless, they still have the opportunity to close out the season on a high note with a win.

Kansas State finished second in the Big 12 this season with a 10-3 record, sitting behind 12-1 TCU, which is set to play in the College Football Playoff.