The One to Watch? <I>Moriah Anderson</I>

He possesses the four 'L's that every defensive coach looks for: Long, Lean, Lithe, and Lanky. OK, so maybe not that last one. However, freshman Marshall defensive back Moriah Anderson is quickly making a name for himself, earning true 'One to Watch' status as summer drills will give way to playing in The Swamp in Florida.

"He'll be big and strong by the time he gets out of here," predicted Marshall defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo, when asked about Anderson's size. "I'd hate to see him running into some of these receivers when he's got about 20 more pounds on him."

Still, 6-2 and 180 pounds makes for a nice-sized true freshman defensive back, and leaves a canvas with which Marshall's coaches can weave a superior back.

Marshall freshman DB Moriah Anderson

In the two weeks that Marshall's freshmen have been practicing, Moriah Anderson has stood out as perhaps the only game-ready-today member of that class. Sure, other players have stood out, but none more than Anderson. "He's got great range," Anarumo continued, when asked to describe Anderson. "He's able to cover a lot of ground."

Anderson's best trait?

"He's got a nose for the ball. He's not afraid to stick his nose in there, in terms of being physical. He's a real physical guy, for a freshman," said Anarumo.

Oddly enough, Anderson was a double-threat at Friendly Senior High in Ft. Washington, Maryland. He posted 88 total tackles (42 solo), two sacks, 12 passes broken up and two interceptions during his senior season of 2000. On the other side of the ball, Anderson was the team's quarterback, completing 80 of 159 passes for 1,025 yards and six touchdowns.

Recruited by defensive coordinator Kevin Kelly, Anderson made for some impressive video highlights in high school. Anderson's defensive backs coach at Marshall, Lou Anarumo, only knew Anderson from that videotape, and liked what he saw. "Just seeing him on film, I couldn't wait to get him here," Anarumo said. "What you saw on high school film was a real physical kid who played quarterback, knocking people around."

In other words, an athlete.

"I'm learning the defense now, and I'm getting some reps," Anderson said after practice on Wednesday. For a guy who has had to learn defensive coordinator Kevin Kelly's new 4-4 defensive system literally overnight, Anderson is apparently doing a good job absorbing information. "They shove everything down your throat when you first come in. So, you've got to think quick," Anderson added. "With the coaches' help, it's coming along. It's coming along."

Marshall fans that haven't made a trip to summer drills shouldn't have a tough time picturing Moriah Anderson and how he plays football. Just picture former Marshall defensive back Rogers Beckett minus about 30 pounds, and you've got Moriah Anderson. Some say he's a clone of Beckett, in terms of tenacity and 'nose for the ball'. "No, sir, I haven't had the chance to see him," Anderson answered when asked if he'd ever seen Beckett play football. "Everybody says I look like him, though."

Indeed.

Instead of thinking of Moriah Anderson as the Second Coming of Rogers Beckett, within the next year or so most Marshall fans will see things in a little different light, if Moriah Anderson has his way.

It will be the First Coming of Moriah Anderson. Remember that.


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