Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Alabama Crimson Tide [Print without images]

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Crimson Countdown: Ryan Anderson

By Alex Scarborough

During the summer, TideNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Alabama roster -- excluding the Tide's 2013 recruiting class -- in our Crimson Countdown series. Starting with No. 1 Dee Hart, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Brandon Ivory.

No. 7 Ryan Anderson
Redshirt freshman defensive end

Expectations for 2013: Getting out of coach Nick Saban's doghouse was a start for the talented outside linebacker from South Alabama. After being sent home from the national championship for missing curfew, it was beginning to look like Anderson might be a lost cause. But his play during the spring extinguished any short-term worries about his future. He benefitted from a handful of injuries and made the most of the opportunity to practice at both inside and outside linebacker.

Best-case scenario: Alabama desperately needs pass-rushers to emerge on defense, and Anderson is a possibility to provide that threat given his blend of size and speed. At 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds, he's big enough to take on offensive linemen and quick enough to get around the edge. The ability to play some inside linebacker will help him in certain packages, but the spot he could do the most damage at is Jack linebacker, where Alabama is relatively thin with returning starter Xzavier Dickson coming off of an injury while splitting his time at defensive end.

Worst-case scenario: If he's truly turned the corner off the field, then the only thing standing between Anderson and significant playing time is himself and what he does at practice. The depth chart isn't necessarily stacked against him, with Denzel Devall as the only other reserve outside linebacker with experience. However, he will have to fend off a few newcomers when four-star prospects Jonathan Allen and Tim Williams get to campus.

Future impact: Going through growing pains during a redshirt season might have been the best thing for Anderson. He was allowed to get stronger in the weight room and learn the playbook without the pressure of having to compete on a weekly basis. With four full years of eligibility remaining, Anderson will have every opportunity to earn a starting job, particularly when the linebacking corps thins out with the imminent departure of starters C.J. Mosley, Adrian Hubbard and Trey DePriest for the NFL.