Keaton Anderson talks Duke; recruiting

Perhaps the top linebacker prospect on the Duke recruiting radar has long time ties to the Blue Devil coaching staff. But will that be enough to sway Alabama three star OLB Keaton Anderson? We spoke with him to find out much more.

With a ton of offers and even more interest, Florence (AL) standout Keaton Anderson has established himself as one of the region's most coveted players.

"Right now I have a lot of offers," said Anderson. "Schools such as Alabama, Tennessee, LSU, Miami, Duke, Clemson, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisville, South Alabama, Tulane, Kentucky, Southern Mississippi, and South Florida have all offered me. I hear the most from Tennessee, Alabama, Duke, Miami, Louisville, LSU, and Kentucky."

With such a long list of suitors, Anderson made the decision to narrow his list to five recently and says he'll only be considering Alabama, Duke, LSU, Miami, and Tennessee going forward. That means the Blue Devils are swimming in very deep recruiting waters, and will be counting on some long standing relationships and the job the staff has done to have a chance at landing Anderson.

"I talk with Coach Collins the most from Duke, and he is a truly unbelievable coach and even better person. He has really explained how Duke is a family first, and how you can set yourself up for life by attending a school like that. He's also pointed out the depth chart and the chance for a guy like me to come in and play really early. They believe if I come in and work hard and do as I'm asked, I'll have a chance to be successful very quickly."

While Collins maybe leading the charge, Duke is also working hard to keep old ties and relationships strong as Anderson moves toward the decision making process.

"I knew Coach Cutcliffe before Duke started recruiting me. He was at UT when my brother was a senior in high school and was the coach who recruited and offered him. Coach Cut is such a great coach and person. When you are around him, it's hard not to feel completely comfortable about him and Duke."

In addition to pitching Anderson about their coaches, program, and school, the Blue Devils have also made a big effort to sell Anderson on himself.

"They tell me they see leadership I bring on the field, and they like the way I play the game with speed. They've talked about the time I spend in the film room to prepare myself for the next week's game and during the offseason. We've talked about how I need to be able to learn a defense very fast for the quicker pace, because that'll help me get on the field quicker."

Still, despite the impressions made, Duke has an huge battle on their hands to land Anderson - one of the top players in Alabama - from the number of SEC powers recruiting him. It's a battle against the top programs in college football, but also a battle against perception.

"Coach Cutcliffe and I have talked about that, and he really wants people to understand and realize that Duke isn't going to be just a great academic school with a great basketball program. He wants people to understand that Duke football is going to win a lot of football games and championships, and they work for that every day. Not only has he turned the program into a winning one, he's making great young men out of his players while he is there, and that's what really is awesome. He really does care about his players."

During his junior season, Anderson lead the state of Alabama with 191 tackles, earning a notebook full of post season awards. Now, as a senior, he says he's looking forward to coming back to school in August and preparing for his final year.

"I'm not going to do visits this summer, because it's all about preparing for the Fall. It's bittersweet that it's my senior season…but I can't wait to go out there and, Lord willing, be victorious 15 weeks in a row. I will be playing Mike, Will, and Safety for my team, and we're going to be extremely strong. The goal is a state championship. Nothing less is acceptable. As a senior, I just want to provide support to my younger teammates and pass along the things I've learned."

Anderson is rated as a three star prospect by

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