Anderson to trim list soon, decide by fall

Think a championship football game is high pressure for star high school athletes? Okay, fair enough – it probably is. But for three-star defensive end Henry Anderson (Woodward Academy, College Park, Ga.), a more immediate concern was on his mind when he called back The Bootleg Saturday afternoon…

"It's prom tonight," Henry Anderson said. "I'm going to leave in one-and-a-half hours, and I had to get a tie."

With all the insanity and hype that accompanies big-time college football recruiting, what a much-needed reminder Anderson offered. These recruits, first and foremost, are plain old high-school students.

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Pause for nostalgia too long though, and it's likely Anderson has picked up another scholarship offer.

"My recruiting is going really well," he told on Saturday. "I got my first offer in the middle of football season, from Maryland, and then Stanford came next, right when the season was over. I've picked up a bunch more since then, and my latest was Clemson -- I got that this past week."

The Tigers, the Turtles and the Tree join eight other schools in having offered Anderson – Wake Forest, Virginia, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, East Carolina, Central Florida, Oregon and UAB, offer No. 10 of 11. However, one conference rather popular in metro Atlanta is conspicuously absent from Anderson's list, and the big man has taken notice.

"Right now, I'm up to 11 offers, and hopefully can pick up some more," he said. "I'm still waiting for my first SEC offer, but I'm really happy with the schools that have offered me so far. I probably could end up going to one of schools that's offered me so far."

Whether or not Anderson's college of choice is a current offeree, the program will have some flexibility in exactly where it chooses to line him up. He said, for example, that Clemson likes him at tight end or defensive end, but could also see him gaining weight and moving to defensive tackle.

Similarly fluid is the top of Anderson's leader board. He says it's hard to choose between a group of schools that have all impressed.

"I visited five or six of the schools that have offered me, and I liked all of them," he said. "Stanford was awesome; their camp was just incredible. Then I visited Virginia, and I really liked that. Plus, I've visited Maryland, Wake, and also a few schools that haven't offered, like Georgia Tech, and Georgia, this past weekend during their Junior Day game. All places I've been to, I've liked all of them. Stanford was definitely, definitely awesome when I was there."

With the two "definitely's" having piqued our interest, Anderson is happy to walk us through that Stanford visit.

"I just went on my spring break, not a Junior Day," he said. "My dad and I went out there on a Wednesday, and my mom and my sister were already in California and went up for a few days too. So when we got there, Coach [D.J.] Durkin and Coach Harbaugh were the main two guys and [Mike] Eubanks, he was with us a bunch too."

The three coaches made sure the Andersons didn't lack for activities.

"They drove us around in golf courts -- we visited the weight room, saw the locker room, talked to academic advisors, sat in on a lecture, talked to a professor at Stanford, and also sat down with the tight end coach, Coach [Greg] Roman," Anderson said. "He and Coach Durkin watched some film on me, and Coach [Lance] Anderson talked about the application process -- what you need to apply, stuff like that. It was a full day."

Anderson, of course, had yet to hang out with the actual football team. In short order, that was remedied.

"We played golf with [DL] James McGillicuddy on Thursday, and he talked to my dad and I about recruiting and stuff like that. … At dinner [Friday], I went and ate with [Georgia DE] Chase Thomas, [likely starting quarterback] Andrew Luck and two other corners," Anderson said. "It was a fun day and I learnt a lot about Stanford. I already knew it was one of the best academic schools, but I learned a lot about the football program. It was fun.

"[Thomas] kind of gave me some advice. Coaches can call later on, and he said that you get a bunch of phone calls. Some you have to tell no to, because it takes a bunch of time talking to them on the phone, so you can have more time."

Indeed, for Anderson, the time to take Thomas' advice and tell some coaches "thanks, but no thanks," may be soon approaching.

"I'm probably going to narrow my list down pretty soon," he said. "I'll go to a few camps and see if I pick up more offers, but then I'll probably narrow down my list and maybe commit by the beginning of football season. I'm hoping to get it out of the way before football season, so I can focus on the team. I want to get into the playoffs and make a run next year. We got knocked out in the second round this year, and I want to make run for States. Maybe I'll take a few officials still, but I plan to commit before the season."

Anderson isn't letting on where he might be leaning.

"I haven't picked any favorites, but like I said, the schools I've visited are all awesome. I really like Stanford; their camp was real nice and, obviously, they have one of the best educations you can get in the country. Also, the stadium was really cool and the facilities were really nice.

"Virginia was also really nice: the campus was amazing and I talked to the coaches for a really long time there. I went on one of their Junior Days and there were only eight players there, because they said like to keep it small to have more one-on-one time. I talked with the defensive end coach.

"Wake Forest was awesome too. I liked a lot of stuff about Wake."

One area where Anderson says he has more clarity is what he's looking for in a school.

"Academics are a big part of it," he said. "I want to get a good education and a degree that means something. I want a college that can compete for a conference championship each year, so we'll see whether that's the ACC, SEC or Pac-10 -- as long as I get a piece of their conference championship, I'd love to go to a school like that."

Countless recruits share two often contradictory desires with Anderson: a program that can compete for conference championships while offering a relatively safe path to playing time. That Stanford football recruiting in the Harris era, responsible for today's upperclassmen, lags far behind today's recruiting efforts, responsible for tomorrow's future stars, means that the Card could be one of the few programs across the country recruits perceive as addressing both concerns.

"And then another thing is playing time," Anderson said. "I don't want to sit on the bench for four or five years. [Thomas] told me at Stanford, he thought could he could play his sophomore or junior year."

One final concern for Anderson is building a strong relationship with the coaching staff. He reports two schools in particular have put in the most effort in building such a relationship to-date.

"[I'd like to] kind of get along with and become friends with them in the process, so when I get to their school, I have already started off on the right track. Who probably talks to me the most is Oklahoma State [lienbacker] coach Glenn Spencer. He talks to me a bunch and sends emails and letters. I get an email from him every day, it seems like. He's been talking to me a lot. [Offensive line] coach Tom Bratton from Maryland sends me really long emails and writes me a lot of mail too."

Luckily for the ‘Hoos and the Card, though, Anderson said he feels a chemistry with their respective staffs too.

I got along with Virginia's coaches really well. I got a bunch of time to talk with them, with only eight prospects being there. At Stanford, Coach Harbaugh is really cool to talk to and a funny guy, and Coach Durkin has been out a few times and is a really cool guy. [Thomas] told me he is a really, really good DL coach, so talking to him was real cool."

Anderson reports a 4.12 GPA, an ACT of 31 and an SAT test date of May 2.

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