Early Start Helps New Linebacker

Leading up to Signing Day, Daphne defensive star Ryan Anderson was getting a lot of credit for something beyond his play on the football field. Anderson was considered to be an extra Crimson Tide recruiter.

Alabama got an early commitment from Ryan Anderson, but that was overshadowed when the Crimson Tide got a very late commitment from Anderson's Daphne teammate, T.J. Yeldon. Yeldon, a tailback who was Mr. Football in Alabama, had been committed to Auburn, but switched to Bama and entered The University for the spring semester.

Anderson, who also enrolled at The Capstone in January, said, "I don't take credit for [recruiting Yeldon]. I was on him real hard, but he had to make that decision on his own."

Anderson and Yeldon grew up and in the same neighborhood and have known each other "since I was about four," Anderson said. "We're close."

He added that he's glad Yeldon chose Alabama. "He's the best running back in the South in my opinion," Anderson said. "I'm glad he's at the same school as I am."

The 6-2, 251-pound Anderson is a fine prospect in his own right. He is a Scout.com four-star prospect. Though most schools recruited Anderson for defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, he said that Alabama wants him to start out playing the jack linebacker spot in Bama's 3-4 alignment.

Anderson said that Alabama looked at him as a linebacker "because I was very small. I was about 230 pounds."

Anderson, who is the second cousin of former Alabama standout Wallace Gilberry, now with the Kansas City Chiefs, said that he didn't expect to be a big name prospect. "I was a two-star," he said. For that reason he had no plans to make a production of his commitment and he was determined to finish high school in time to enter college in the spring semester.

Anderson was very productive for Coach Glenn Vickery at Daphne. As a senior he had 105 tackles and 12 sacks. In Daphne's 2010 state championship season he had 75 tackles and 14.5 sacks.

Anderson said if he had waited until the end of the spring semester to go to college, "I'd just be in training. That's what I'm getting here. I'm getting the best training I can get with Coach (Scott) Cochran and his (strength and conditioning) staff."

Anderson described the workouts as "pretty tough."

In addition to the training, Anderson said, coming in early gives him a chance to learn the playbook, which enables a player to "play fast. If I came in the summer, I'd be a little hesitant in two-a-days. But putting some of that stuff away will help me play faster."

He knows that getting on the field in 2012 will be a challenge. "It's The University of Alabama," he said. "The best defense being played is right here in Tuscaloosa. It's going to be a challenge.

"It's on me. What I do is up to me now."

Although high school is behind him, Anderson said he will take part in a couple of events at Daphne at the end of spring. "We get to go back for prom and graduation," he said.

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