Asking players to name the toughest opponent they ever faced is a common practice, especially for those who put together illustrious careers at college football’s highest level, like Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson. But when Anderson, a top prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft, was asked that question at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday, he gave an uncommon response.
“Bijan Robinson, the running back from Texas,” Anderson said quickly. “He was a big back … He was going to break a few tackles, we had to tackle him the right way. He was probably the toughest opponent I faced in college.”
Anderson and Robinson faced each other only once, in a nonconference matchup between Alabama and future SEC rival Texas in Week 2 of the 2022 college football season. The Crimson Tide prevailed over the home underdog Longhorns in a 20-19 thriller, with Texas keeping the game close thanks to a pass rush that routinely got pressure on Alabama star quarterback Bryce Young.
Robinson received a whopping 21 carries in the game but mustered just 57 yards. That was due in large part to Alabama being able to key in on the star running back after Texas starting quarterback Quinn Ewers left the game early due to an injury.
He and the Longhorns still gave Anderson a handful, however. Even though Anderson finished with five total tackles and two tackles for a loss in the game, he also had four missed tackles and was penalized four times in what was his lowest-graded performance of the season per Pro Football Focus’s metrics.
Anderson and Young are considered top prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.
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