Anderson Top Talent In Columbus City League

Although he might be considered a long shot to grab the attention of his favorite college football team that just happens to play in his home town, Josh Anderson of Columbus Marion-Franklin High School improved his odds of earning a scholarship to some big-time program with a more-than-solid performance at the All-American combine in San Antonio in January. Anderson, a top returning running back in Ohio, drilled with the defensive backs at the combine to showcase his overall athletic ability.

For the past two seasons, Josh Anderson of Columbus Marion-Franklin High School has averaged about 1,200 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns in helping to lead his Red Devils to consecutive championships in the Southern Division of the Columbus City League.

But, for the most part, Anderson is still a relative unknown commodity outside of the Columbus area.

"Everybody will be looking out for me in Columbus this year," said the mild-mannered and unassuming Anderson. "I think that I'm the best running back in the city, not to be cocky, but I certainly think so."

Anderson was in San Antonio in January to participate in the U.S. Army All-American combine and he certainly turned in a noteworthy performance, especially in one particular area of the combine. At 5-10 and 185 pounds, Anderson was timed at 4.08 seconds in his pro shuttle run during the combine, which was the 5th fastest time of all of the 500 or so athletes at the combine.

"It was pretty quick. The coach told me I had a great time," Anderson said. "I knew that I was quick but not that quick."

Anderson had just been medically released, from a knee injury that he sustained in the last game of the season, to participate in the combine. Since he hadn't really had the chance to train to record a good 40-yard dash time, he chose not to run it so he wouldn't be labeled with a slow time at the combine. But his knee certainly responded well in the pro shuttle run.

"My knee is 100 percent healthy now," said Anderson who actually missed a few games during the season with an ankle injury last year but still managed to pretty much equal his sophomore numbers with about 1,200 yards and 16 TDs on the campaign. "It was just a knee bruise and I'm fine now."

The combine gave Anderson a renewed sense of confidence and motivation as he prepares for his senior season now.

"I'm working harder than ever now trying to get bigger, stronger and faster," Anderson said. "The combine gave me a chance to see all of the other talented players that were there and it made me realize that no matter how hard I work, I can work even harder. Yeah I did pretty well there but at the same time, it really motivated me to become even better."

Anderson is ready to help his team move beyond their consecutive 9-2 seasons that saw them eliminated in the first round both years. As a sophomore, he helped Marion-Franklin make it into the post-season for the first time ever in the history of the school and now he naturally wants more.

"I want to help our team win our school's first ever playoff game," he said. "We've been to the playoffs the past two years now but we haven't gotten over the hump yet. And this year we have to get over the hump. So it's important for me to have a big year to not only get our team back into the playoffs but win the first playoff game ever at our school."

For the first time since his freshman year, Anderson will likely perform on the defensive side of the ball this year.

"I'll be going both ways this year," Anderson said. "I haven't really played defensive back since I was a freshman and I'm looking forward to the challenge."

That was obviously one of the reasons why he practiced with the defensive backs at the All-American combine, to hone his skills on defense. But he also wanted to let anyone that was interested in him know that he could play on defense at the next level if he's asked to.

"I worked with the defensive backs (down there) because I just wanted to show everyone that I could do both," Anderson said. "I love playing running back but I'm confident that I can play well on the defensive side of the ball also."

In addition to another league championship and getting his school's first-ever playoff victory, Anderson is ultimately hoping to shine bright enough to attract the interest of some of the big-time Division I college programs. He'll be attending the one-day senior camp at Ohio State this summer and possibly one at Illinois as well.

"It would be really exciting to get looked at by Ohio State," admitted Anderson, who has yet to have been shown any interest from the Buckeye staff. "I was an Ohio State fan growing up and I still am. A lot of people from here (in Columbus) don't get looked at by Ohio State so if they were to show any interest in me that would really be exciting.

"But I feel good about everything. Right now I'm wide open but I would love to have a chance to play anywhere in the Big 10."

Anderson knows that he's not the ideal size for a running back but he thinks he's more than capable of playing the position at the next level.

"If they want a big guy running the ball, then obviously that's not me," he said. "But if they want somebody to get the job done, then that's me. I can play running back or even flanker. I can catch the ball really well also."

But his forte for the past two years as been making things happen while running with the football in his hands and he expects to continue doing that well again next season.

"I just run. I can't really explain it," Anderson said. "I can shake, go through or run around you. I mix it up. You never know what you're going to see from one time to another."

Anderson sports a 3.2 GPA and he just took the ACT test for the first time in February.

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