With Alabama football all but eliminated from the College Football Playoff, opt-outs for bowl season are possible. Especially for players projected to be top 10 picks like Young and Anderson.
It’s only the second time the Crimson Tide has found itself in this situation since the CFP began in 2014. The last time was 2019, and the only two veterans who opted out of the Citrus Bowl were Trevon Diggs and Terrell Lewis. Neither was projected to be a top pick like Young or Anderson.
Both were asked Monday what their plans are ahead of the matchup between No. 8 Alabama (9-2, 5-2 SEC) and Auburn (5-6, 2-5) on Saturday (2:30 p.m., CBS) at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Young said he's focused on the here and now.
"As far as anything in my future, I take everything one day at a time," said Young, who won the Heisman Trophy last season. "All I've been focused on throughout the year is the next opponent. Obviously this is huge. This is a huge game. This means a lot to me, to people in the entire state. To us as a team. This is a huge game. All I think about is today. How can I be the best version of myself today? To get ready to put myself in the best circumstances. How we as a team can do that. That's all my head is focused on."
Anderson said he hasn't made any decisions yet. Both are juniors but could declare early for the NFL Draft.
"I've just been real focused on this season," Anderson said. "Continue to be a good leader, making sure that I'm showing guys the right way of how to do things around here. It's been a great time here. Playing in Bryant-Denny has been fun. So many memories. I just want to keep those memories going. It's been fun, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world."
Coach Nick Saban has discussed in the past how he would respect and understand decisions to opt out in this scenario.
"I kind of get it if you're a high first-round draft pick — (weighing) the money (available) and how you can protect and insure yourself — may make a business decision that says the risk is not worth the reward of playing in the game," Saban said in 2019. "But if you're not in that position, then you have an opportunity to showcase your talents and impress people with how you play in the (bowl) game. And that's pretty much what I told those guys, and it's their choice.”
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama football: Is Iron Bowl it for Bryce Young, Will Anderson Jr.?