By (Terrin Waack)

Ryan Anderson has a soft side.

The 6-foot-2, 252-pound linebacker is in the midst of his fifth and final season at Alabama and the one thing he wants to do before closing out this chapter of his life is leave behind a message that has nothing to do with the number of wins and losses. It’s much more important.

The team is a close-knit group this season, and he never wants that to change.

“That’s how it’s been the last few years — it has,” Anderson said. “As a guy that’s been around on some teams that weren’t like that, I wasn’t going to leave here and let that go. I wanted to set an example for these younger guys, even if it is just the younger guys in my position group.”

There are just four true freshmen linebackers. The Crimson Tide has 26 fresh-out-of-high-school faces total.

It’s a 115-man roster, though.

“Just get them and spend time with them,” Anderson said. “You got a lot of guys that are young, redshirting and on scout team, and they’re probably feeling just like I felt, like you’re really not part of the team. You know what I mean?

“So I just try to make sure everybody gets those guys, motion to them, put your arm around them and just let them know to keep working and that we all love them and appreciate what they’re doing.”

The team has become a family.

Shaun Dion Hamilton called fellow linebacker Reuben Foster his big brother and Mack Wilson his little brother. Foster, a senior, was actually Hamilton’s host when he came and officially visited Alabama as a recruit, which impacted Hamilton’s final decision to come to the Capstone. Then, Hamilton, a junior, played a similar role in Wilson’s recruiting process last year.

It doesn’t stop there either. Anderson spoke highly of other young linebackers, too. He believes Christian Miller, Anfernee Jennings and Terrell Hall are all developing into strong players who will make a big difference in the future. Anderson enjoys watching them learn and grow.

“When I get up every day, I look forward to coming in here and seeing my teammates,” Anderson said.

The Crimson Tide has been non-stop since the 2016 season started. It has competed in – and won – seven games so far and will host Texas A&M on Saturday for its eighth straight game. The following week, however, is Alabama’s bye week.

“Everybody is ready to get a break,” Anderson said, “but after I’m home or I don’t see them for two or three days, I miss them, man.”


Linebacker Ryan Anderson:

Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson spoke highly of all his teammates today, starting with Tim Williams.

— Terrin Waack (@terrinvictoria) October 18, 2016 Tight end O.J. Howard:

Alabama tight end O.J. Howard sat down to talk with the media today. Here’s some of what he had to say.

— Terrin Waack (@terrinvictoria) October 18, 2016 …read more

Source:: The Crimson White Sports