ATL to SFO? Henry Anderson's now boarding

Stanford coaches have been dialing no shortage of 404 and 770 numbers this recruiting cycle, and the foray into Atlanta has paid off again. Monday night, DE Henry Anderson not only told Jim Harbaugh that he'll be switching to a 650 number these next four years, but gave the backstory to our very own Scott Cooley.

The Bootleg: The news of your commitment came late Monday evening, how did it happen?

Henry Anderson: I called Coach Harbaugh about 10:00 p.m. (ET) and he was really excited about [the commitment]. My dad and I talked to him for awhile, and then I called Coach Durkin after that. He's been recruiting me because he's my position coach. Both of them were really excited and told me they'd been waiting for me for a long time. I think both were really happy in the end. I went out to dinner with Tai-ler [Jones] and his dad tonight. I got back a little while ago and then called, but I had decided that I was going to commit to Stanford before tonight.

TB: Now that you've made a verbal commitment to Stanford, how do you feel?

HA: I feel great right now. Talking with the coaches and everybody on that coaching staff got me really pumped up. They were all really great guys to talk to and great coaches. Sitting down with Coach Durkin during my visit there and watching film with was nice to do. He's been down to Woodward a few times and I've talked to him a lot. We have a strong relationship.

I also got to talk to Coach Harbaugh when I was at Stanford over spring break with my parents. He's just a really competitive coach and he's a guy that doesn't settle for anything less than perfection. He's not going to be pleased finishing second in the Pac-10, or third, or fourth. He's going to want to win the Pac-10 every year, get a BCS bowl bid and go to a national championship. That really stood out for me. I feel like the academic record they have there and the way that football program is going with the recruiting process in the last two years is amazing. I can't be happier with my decision and I feel like Stanford is, in the words of Coach Durkin, "custom-made" for me. I feel really happy with my decision, and I think in the end it will be the right school for me.

TB: You mentioned going to dinner with fellow Cardinal commit Tai-ler Jones, was this a sales-pitch dinner or just a casual meeting a between a pair of elite Georgia high school football players?

HA: Actually this was the first time I met Tai-ler. I had seen him in different camps and combines in Georgia, but I had never talked to him. So that was the first time I had ever talked to him or his dad. Listening to his dad talk so highly of Stanford was amazing. I had decided [to commit] before meeting them, so the meeting really didn't affect my decision that much, but listening to Tai-ler and his dad… both of them were so excited about him going to Stanford for the next four years of his life. Just listening to them being so pumped up was exciting.

TB: The Cardinal recently had another premier prospect from Georgia commit, safety Daunte Carr, what do you know about him?

HA: I've seen him around too at some of these camps, but I have never met him. I know he is one of those taller cornerbacks, I think he's like 6-2 and close to 200 pounds. He seems like a great athlete and so I'm sure he will be contributing a lot while he's at Stanford. I haven't seen him play, but looking at his offer list and some of the schools that are interested, I'm sure he's a hell of a player so it will be fun to be teammates with him.

TB: You speak very highly of the members of the Cardinal coaching staff, was your relationship with them a determining factor in choosing the school?

HA: That was a big part of it, but it wasn't the deciding factor. I've been on a bunch of visits and I've talked to a lot of coaches. They come to my school, and I've talked to them on the phone. Talking to the coaches at Stanford, listening to their goals and hearing their competitive spirit in their voices was great. Like I said, they aren't going to be satisfied with anything less than a Pac-10 championship. That really stood out to me and the competitiveness that Coach Harbaugh has is something I was really looking for in a coach. I think in the next few years Stanford is going to surprise a lot of people. I think they'll take some of the teams in the Pac-10 by surprise on their way to becoming a big-time team in not only the Pac-10, but the country.

TB: What are you looking forward to most, getting the opportunity to play in the Pac-10?

HA: I think playing against some of the best college players in the country. You've got the SEC, ACC, Big 10 and Big 12, but the Pac-10 is right there, strong with all of them. And I don't know how many NFL players come out of the Pac-10 compared to the other conferences, but I'm sure it's near the top of the list. Playing against those types of players is only going to make me and my teammates better players. Playing against teams like USC and Oregon is going to be a lot of fun.

TB: Stanford was the second program to extend a scholarship, how did the Cardinal not get lost in the shuffle after 17 additional offers came through the door?

HA: My dad was high on them from the start because of the academics. Early on in the process, that was the only reason he liked Stanford so much, so ever since the start he's favored Stanford. The more he looked into it, the more he realized Stanford is going to be a force to be reckoned with over the next few years with the quality of players they're bringing in.

We were going to San Francisco over spring break and my dad had mentioned that Palo Alto was not too far away. So we went and visited Stanford and it was one of my favorite visits. It stood out to me for awhile. The coaches treated me well and made me feel like I was at home even though I was all the way out on the West Coast. That visit was big for me. Without that visit, I don't know if I would have committed to [Stanford].

TB: Was there one thing that stood out on the visit?

HA: I think a lot of things on the visit really stood out to me. The campus is beautiful. Seeing the campus that I had heard so much about in person was awesome. A lot of people say that walking around Stanford is almost like walking around a resort because it's so nice. Getting to see the facilities and the stadium were cool too. I love the stadium too, the palm trees going around was really cool. I had never seen that before. The atmosphere in Palo Alto was really cool. From the second I got there, I felt right at home. And just hearing about some of the people who had graduated from Stanford was amazing. Just a lot of things on that visit were really cool.

TB: How would you describe yourself as a football player?

HA: I would say that I'm very competitive with a refuse-to-lose attitude.

TB: What kind of offseason football program are you involved in?

HA: We do football workouts from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00. Our strength and conditioning coach puts on an hour-long workout in the weight room where we do five or six different lifts each day and then we go out and run for awhile. We do some conditioning work, speed work, agility and stuff like that. We do that Monday through Thursday.

TB: What team goals have you set going into your senior season and do you have any personal achievements you are looking to accomplish?

HA: I really haven't set any personal goals. I guess one I could set right now would be making All-State for defensive end. I would love to be on that All-State team for 3-A. But I don't really have that many personal goals. All I want is for our team to win a Region Championship. The ideal situation would be to win a State Championship, but we lost the Region Championship with under a minute left last year, so that really got some people's fire stared toward the end of last year. We are definitely looking forward to winning the Region Championship and making a run at the state title.

TB: What do you like to do outside of football, do you have any hobbies?

HA: I have a girlfriend, so I hang out with her a lot. We go out a lot so I spend a lot of time with her. I go to a lot of movies as well.

TB: Have you seen any good movies lately?

HA: I saw Transformers the other day, which was pretty good. This was awhile ago but I saw The Hangover which has to be one of my favorite movies now. You have to see that movie! It is by far the funniest movie I have ever seen. [Do these answers sound familiar? Check out the Daunte Carr interview]

TB: Do you have any summer plans?

HA: We got back from Wisconsin late last night. My dad's and mom's parents both live in Wisconsin, so we got to spend the Fourth of July with them. All of my dad's brothers and sisters came, as well as my mom's, so it was nice to be up there for the holiday.

I was scheduled to go to the FSU camp down in Florida until I committed today, so instead, I am going to a lakehouse on Lake Burton in Georgia. My brother is a camp counselor at a camp that is basically on Lake Burton and he's getting this weekend off, so we'll be spending some time with him. He's in college right now, so this is our only week to hang out with him for the whole summer. He just finished his freshman year at Kentucky.

TB: How does your family feel about your decision?

HA: My dad is really proud of me and is really happy with my decision because he'd been favoring Stanford all along. My mom is actually still in Wisconsin with my sister and grandparents, but we talked to her before I committed and she was also really excited about it. So both of my parents are really happy for me, they prefer my decision and think that's the best choice I could have made.

TB: You took the SAT in May, how did you end up doing?

HA: I got a 1330 on the two-part. I got a 600 on the reading and a 730 on the math. I got a 2090 on the three-part. [Anderson also reports a 31 ACT with a 4.14 GPA.]

TB: You obviously have a great head on your shoulders and it's no coincidence you had offers from some strong academic schools like Stanford and Vanderbilt. Were you always looking toward choosing a more academic program?

HA: Early on, my selection process was more geared to schools that had a better academic record. But when I started picking up some of the ACC and SEC offers, I started to focus more on football. Academics kind of fell by the wayside, because I had always dreamt of playing in the SEC in front of 90,000 fans. But the closer I got to my decision, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized the next four or five years are big in determining the rest of my life.

So you definitely want to go to a school that is going to prepare you for the rest of your life. Stanford has proven over and over again that it is the type of school that does that. Without a doubt, Stanford is one of the top academic schools in the country, and I figured if I passed up on Stanford, I could be regretting that for the rest of my life. If I passed up on the Stanford education and the chance to play Pac-10 football, I might be regretting that for the rest of my life, and I don't want that sticking around in my head. I figured Stanford is the place for me, and I think I will have a great time there over the next four or five years playing football and working in the classroom.


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