HOUSTON — Located three miles west of the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Georgia, is a small city named Hampton with just under 10,000 residents. Most individuals from the town must mention the racetrack as a point of reference to give directions to anyone wanting to visit.
Many find it strange to mention a significant landmark before mentioning the name of the city they are from, including Houston Texans rookie defensive end Will Anderson, who was a superstar on the football field at Dutchtown High School located in Hampton, Georgia.
“Yeah, when people ask me questions, it’s crazy because, like for me, I don’t really be thinking about stuff like that, coming from a small town,” said Anderson after his second day of rookie minicamp. “My mind just be other places. It’s like now when people be like, where is Dutchtown at, I be like, ‘Well, Dutchtown is in Henry County.’”
While many may not be as geographically inclined to tell you what part of Georgia Henry County is located, they will never forget the impression that the third overall selection in the 2023 NFL draft left there and at Alabama, where he was awarded Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the year in back-to-back seasons to go along with the consecutive unanimous first-team All-American selections.
Anderson is following the same path that another former NFL player took over 17 years ago when he was selected in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft by the Houston Texans after having a stellar college career at Alabama, where he, too, earned SEC Player of the Year and unanimous first-team All-American selection in his final season with the Crimson Tide.
“I think that’s one of the biggest things that I was hoping and praying to God for; is just whatever head coach I get; we have the same mentality,” said Texans rookie LB Will Anderson Jr. when I asked about the similarities between him and HC DeMeco Ryans. #Texans #Sarge pic.twitter.com/Ze7gcdOBxY
— #SARGE (@BigSargeSportz) May 13, 2023
The footsteps that Anderson is following in is none other than his coach DeMeco Ryans, who also has to mention famous people like former Heisman Trophy Winner Bo Jackson or hip-hop artist Gucci Mane in reference to his hometown of Bessemer, Alabama.
“Yeah, for me, I was super excited,” said Anderson about being drafted by the Texans and getting a chance to play for coach Ryans. “I think that’s one of the biggest things that I was hoping and praying to God for; is just…