One word that has never been described to call Avery Anderson: soft. The Colorado Springs (Colo.) Pine Creek safety was a BIG flip for the Huskers. That gets lost. You have to remember that coming into junior day on February 1, 2014 that Anderson was an Arizona State commitment.
He was a player that coming into his junior year I put solidly as a Nebraska favorite. Then he committed and called Arizona State his ‘dream school’. It was disheartening to see another player go to school other than Nebraska.
That was why both Josh and I didn’t believe the news that day on the 1st when he did flip to Nebraska. It was a huge get. And you can see it in his senior highlights about what type of a player Anderson might be in the Nebraska secondary.
The first few plays off of the tape shows you something about Anderson that you have to have at the elite levels of college football when you aren’t the biggest guy on the football field. You have to have the willingness to stick your nose in places where others typically wouldn’t.
Couple the willingness to come down hill and hit along with Anderson’s range and you have something. There were frustrations last year with the lack of range in the secondary at times or worse the choice of bad angles.
You don’t see those things on Anderson’s film. He covers ground from 10 to 12 yards deep in the secondary. Anderson comes downhill and gets his head across the ball carrier and can really stick them.
What people worry about is with the range that Anderson might lack strength. You can see Anderson though pick up a crossing receiver – a bigger receiver than Anderson – and Anderson is able to stop the forward momentum a before the goal line and not allow any forward progress.
But, these are small potatoes. Yes, I said small potatoes. Anderson supports the run well. Anderson can really come up and stick the ball carrier. He’s a solid tackler and he has great range. What I like about Anderson is playing the ball in the air.
Anderson sees the play take shape in front of him. He reads the eyes of the quarterback and is able to jump into the play because of the great range and he can break on the ball and pull in the interception.
Anderson has those things that you look for in a safety: size, range, an ability to make the play. The Huskers targeted players that can cover ground and individually can hold their own on the field at all times.
Anderson is the kind of player that alongside other capable players can stand out and be a real playmaker in the secondary at Nebraska.