North Dakota LB Matt Anderson Commits to NDSU

Matt Anderson, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound running back/linebacker from Cavalier (ND) High who had gotten some interest for Minnesota, has committed to Division I-AA North Dakota State. Anderson had a standout senior season with the Tornadoes as he was named North Dakota Class A senior Player of the Year.

Matt Anderson rushed for 2,109 yards this season and had a school record 3,622 career rushing yards. He led the Tornadoes to their fourth consecutive state title appearance.

However, they saw their run of 47 consecutive wins (state's second-longest football winning streak) and three consecutive state titles snapped when they lost 33-12 to Velva-Sawyer in the North Dakota Class A high school football championship game. It was the first game Anderson had lost since he was an eighth grader.

Velva-Sawyer limited Anderson to just 26 carries for 85 yards. He scored on a 73-yard kickoff return and a 1-yard touchdown run. Anderson scored on an apparent 74-yard touchdown run, but the play was called back by a holding penalty, which would have cut the lead to 19-12. The Tornadoes eventually had to punt and were never able to get back into the game.

Cavalier coach Rod Oksendahl, who was named Class A coach of the year, has said that Anderson is as good as any player he's coached.

"Matt can run over people. He can run around people," Rod Oksendahl recently told the Grand Forks Herald. "There aren't many people who have had the combination of speed and power he has. And Matt is a real smart runner. He waits for things to open and he has the acceleration to bust through holes when they're there.

"His offensive statistics stand out. But we'd miss him more on defense. He's such a force there. He can take the area from tackle to tackle. He frees up our other kids to be more outside and pass conscious."

Anderson led the team with 81 tackles and set a school record with 10 interceptions going into the title game.

Oksendahl told GoldenSports.Net recently that North Dakota State and North Dakota had recently visited Anderson and that he was also hearing from Kansas State, Wyoming, Montana State, Northern Iowa, Ball State and Minnesota.

Oksendahl said former Minnesota punter Brent Herbel, who is now a doctor in Grand Forks, had contacted Minnesota about Anderson and that Anderson had sent a tape to the Gophers.

Oksendahl said that Anderson will play linebacker in college.

"He could easily be 240 to 250 pounds. They tend to move quicker guys to defense."

Oksendahl said that Anderson has been a four-year starter on the defensive side.

"He started as a linebacker since his freshman year. He played offensively a little bit as a sophomore. He played as a wide receiver more than as a running back then. He moved to running back last year," Oksendahl said.

Oksendahl feels that Anderson is a versatile player.

"His strengths are his size and speed. He's got instincts that are hard to coach. He is always around the ball," he said.

Anderson is a three-sport standout for Cavalier. He won the North Dakota Class B State Track meet 200-meter dash (22.78 seconds) and was second in the 100-meter dash (11.24). Anderson had a 10.8 second 100-meter dash during the season.

Anderson led the Tornadoes to a 16-7 mark in basketball as they finished District 4 regular season tournament champion. They won the district championship, but lost in the first game of the regionals.

Oksendahl said that Anderson has a chance to be selected All-State in basketball.

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