On site with Henry Anderson

About an hour before the start of the Saturday's game, The Bootleg was able to spend some time with Georgia commit Henry Anderson and his father Eric who drove up to Winston-Salem to see the Cardinal in action.

The Bootleg: So what was your training regimen like in the offseason?

Henry Anderson: We worked out four days a week and just did lots of different exercises: squats, bench press, everything. Our defensive line coach worked on a lot of agility stuff and I worked a lot more on the pass rush as well.

TB: Early on what sort of benefits have you noticed from your offseason work?

HA: I'm definitely more in shape than I was last year. Towards the second half of last season I was dying. This year I'm ready for the 2nd half. Then I'm still working on the pass rush. I'm starting off a little rusty the first few games but it's getting there and each game I'm getting better and better.

TB: What are some of Woodward Academy's goals for this season?

HA: First is to win the region championship. We lost it last year in like the last minute so we definitely want to get back there in that situation and win it this year. Then we'd like to make a run at the state championship. We have the team to do it. Our offensive line is a little small but they work really hard and there's a good chance we can get deep in the playoffs this year.

TB: Are there any individual accolades that you would like to earn?

HA: Not really. I haven't really set any personal goals yet. I just want to win the regional championship with the team and have a good senior season

TB: At Stanford you're going to start off as a defensive end and then maybe move inside?

HA: They're recruiting me as a defensive end so that's what I think I'm going to play there. I think they're looking at me a bit as a tight end too so if I'm not really high up on the depth chart as a defensive end I'll probably [get some reps] at tight end.

TB: Do you play on both offense and defense in high school?

HA: I play a little bit of tight end but not that much. We don't really use the tight end that much in our offense. I play defensive end the whole game and they'll put me in sometimes in short yardage situations like 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1 at tight end just to have a big body to run behind.

TB: Do you think you made the right choice in making an early commitment?

HA: Yeah, definitely. Basically I was holding off on the commitment just to wait on a few offers. Actually one of them was Georgia Tech but the more I thought about tit the more I thought Stanford was a better fit for me. It's nice to get out of Atlanta and see other parts of the country. I'm also a big Georgia fan and I was kind of waiting on the Georgia offer but it never came. Stanford had I think 21 commits at the time I committed and when talked to some coaches they said they were going to take about 23 or 24 so I just figured I'd go ahead and pull the trigger. There was no sense in waiting

TB: Since you made the verbal commitment in early July what sort of contact have you been having with other schools? Have the mail and phone calls slowed down at all?

HA: I mean it has slowed down a little bit. I still get a bunch of letters. Virginia is still recruiting me pretty hard and Wisconsin has been sending me stuff too, but it has definitely slowed down a lot. It's nice to get all that out of the way and not have to deal with talking to coaches and opening letters all the time.

TB: What's been the most enjoyable part of the recruiting process for you?

HA: It's kind of nice to have your name out there and have all the publicity and stuff. But I mean it gets kind of old after a while. You just kind of want to get it over with and you just want to focus on your senior season so I enjoyed it while it happened but now that it has slowed down I'm really enjoying my football season.

TB: When you were a sophomore in high school and first started to receive interest from college programs did you anticipate your recruitment blowing up as much as it did?

HA: No, I didn't think that at all. My sophomore year my coach told me that if I kept working hard I would be getting ACC and SEC offers. When he told me that I really took it to heart and worked really hard [with that goal in mind]. I was a little surprised when I got that first offer which was Maryland. I thought that I would get a few more but I didn't think I would get to 20, so it was really awesome getting that.

TB: What was the most surprising part of recruiting for you aside from getting all the offers you did? Has there been anything that maybe the average recruiting fan wouldn't realize goes on in the recruiting process?

HA: I mean not really. There is just a lot more to it than the average recruiting guru would think. It's not like you just sit there and talk with coaches – there's a lot more to it than that. On your visits they take you all over campus showing you what that they have to offer, so it's much more than just talking on the phone with them and reading the letters.

TB: What's the worst part of recruiting been?

HA: Probably all the letters you receive. You kind of feel obligated to open all of them there's just a bunch of letters every day. It's kind of slowed down now but earlier it opening like 15 letters every day was getting kind of old so it's nice to kind of get that out of the way.

TB: Do you pay attention to Stanford recruiting? Do you go on sites like Scout and Rivals and look at what's going?

HA: Yeah, I used to check it a lot but I still check it a few times a week now. Scout.com has a little commitment ticker at the bottom of the page so I check that. I actually saw the other day that Torrian Wilson committed – he's huge so I'm really excited about that. So I check it every once in a while and then I check the forums to see what people are saying.

TB: So when you committed to Stanford did you check the forum to see what people were saying about it?

HA: Right when I committed my dad bought a Scout.com subscription and a Rivals.com subscription so we saw what people were saying which is pretty cool. I still check it to see what people are saying about the new commits and just their thoughts and opinions on the game.

TB: What are your thoughts on the class so far as you've seen it develop? A lot of de-commitments but also a lot of new commits…

HA: I mean it's awesome. Stanford's not a program like Florida who won two national championships in the past two or three years. And still what are they now, the number six best class in the country right now? The class is awesome so far. I was also talking to Coach Willie Taggart [Friday] when he came by my school before he flew up to Wake Forest. I think he visited Roswell first then Gainesville and talked with Tai-ler Jones and then of course College Park is right by the airport so he stopped by College Park and he talked to me for a little bit before our game. It was nice to talk to him. That was actually the first time I had talked to a coach in person since I committed so that was pretty cool.

TB: What is the relationship like you have with other Stanford recruits?

HA: I talk to Tai-ler a little bit. We went to dinner before I committed. I haven't met Daunte Carr yet. David Yankey and I went to a Scout.com combine I think in the spring and we went against each there. We did a little one on one pass rush there so that was fun. We talked a little bit there and he was a cool guy to talk to. Alex Turner texted me after I committed and I've talked on Facebook with Dillon Bonnell. Then I've talked to a few other guys too so it's been cool talking to them and getting to know them a little bit before we meet each other.

TB: Who got the better of the pass rushing drill between you and David at the Scout combine?

HA: I don't remember (laughing). He might have gotten me once and I might have gotten him once.

TB: How big was it having several other Georgia guys in the class to maybe help make the 3000 mile trip to the other side of the country a bit less intimidating?

HA: Yeah, it's big because you'd think they wouldn't be getting that many commits from the East Coast and four guys from Georgia. That's pretty surprising and obviously its nice having three other guys who are kind of in your same situation going out there with you. You kind of get to know them better than some of the other guys in the country before you go out to Stanford.

TB: So you had the opportunity to play for a traditional football powerhouse with tons of national exposure like Florida State, Michigan, or Clemson where you would play in front of 90,000 screaming fans every game. What led you to choose Stanford over a football obsessed school like that?

HA: First of all when I visited there even though its 3000 miles away I felt really comfortable. I felt at home on the campus. Maybe the biggest thing was the competitiveness of the coaches and their will to win. I'm a really competitive guy and I thought Coach Harbaugh was the only guy I've met that is more competitive than I am. He wasn't just talking about Pac-10 championships he was talking about BCS bowl games and national championships which really got me pumped up. That was big, my relationship with the coaches. Coach Durkin had come by my school a few times so I talked with him and developed a good relationship with him. When I visited the school I got to eat dinner with a couple of players, Andrew Luck and Chase Thomas, who went to high school in Georgia. (Chase and my) recruiting was kind of similar and it was pretty cool to related to him and the similar ways in which we were recruited. I just felt Stanford was the best fit for me. Coach Durkin would always tell me that Stanford was custom made for me with the academics and the football program which is going to be pretty good within the next few years.

TB: Do you know when you'll be taking your Stanford official visit?

HA: I don't know, but isn't there one day where all the recruits visit, I think I'll probably do that. My dad and I were maybe talking about maybe going to Notre Dame but I definitely want to go to the big visit where all the commits go and meet all of them and get to know them. Hopefully I can do that and maybe one more game.

TB: Do you have any visits planned to other schools?

HA: No.

TB: Have you started on the application?

HA: Yeah, I actually turned it in three weeks ago so Coach Anderson said I'd be hearing back pretty soon. I'd think it would be any day now. He said it usually takes a few weeks to hear back after you turn it in and I sent it in like the day school started. I wanted to finish the application before I got all the homework and projects at school so I got it out of the way before school started which was about four weeks ago. He said that they had all of the different parts together and that they started reading it at the beginning of this week so I should be hearing back pretty soon.

TB: Alright, so now it's time for your pregame prediction.

HA: I'd say my score prediction is Stanford 27 Wake 14. I'm going to go ahead and put that out there. I don't know about any individual stats or anything but I'm going to go ahead and say that Andrew Luck will probably have a good game. Coach Taggart was really high on Luck when I was talking to him and the running back Toby Gerhart will also probably do well. Coach Taggart was talking really highly about them yesterday.

Eric Anderson

TB: What was it like to go through the recruiting process as a parent?

EA: It was very exciting. You're obviously very proud of your son being able to go through that. It was all new for me because I was not a player in college or anything but it was very exciting and a lot of fun. It was a little bit nerve wrecking, but fun.

TB: Aside from education what were some of the most important qualities that you were looking for in a potential college destination for Henry?

EA: Well, the academic side was important as anything. I certainly wanted Henry to go to a school that was going to be competitive and in a great conference. If he's going to work that hard playing football you want to be on a competitive team but you want to be able to combine that with outstanding academics so he can be prepared for life after football.

TB: As a first time parent going through this process how did Stanford do a better job than some of the other programs recruiting Henry in answering any questions you might have had?

EA: Well I have to say that a lot of recruiters from a lot of schools are really good. A lot of schools do a great job. They're all very thorough. We just really hit it off well with Coach Harbaugh and Coach Durkin and all of the other coaches we met. One of the nice things about Stanford is that a lot of the questions answer themselves when you talk about the academic side and how it's going to prepare you for the rest of your life.

TB: Henry mentioned that you purchased Scout and Rivals subscriptions at the time of his verbal commitment. What was it like to see the reaction of Stanford fans to his commitment?

EA: It was cool. Again, you're just real proud and I don't know what else to say. It kind of blows your mind a little bit that they're writing about your kid that way. If you were to ask me five years ago if my son would ever be playing big time college football I would have thought you were crazy, so it's kind of fun.

TB: From a parents perspective what was the best and worst part of the recruiting process?

EA: It's hard to say what the best part is. I guess it would be that you meet a lot of great people. At a lot of schools coaching and recruiting people are all real good. Obviously everyone's going to sort of be on their best behavior because they're trying to recruit your son but it's always great meeting a lot of the nice people. I wouldn't say there was really a worst thing. Really the only hard part was just trying to fit it all in. The recruiting cycle is moved up so much now that you're in the middle of your spring junior semester and you have a lot of things going on. You're trying to fit enough trips in and all of that, and you can say that's the worst thing about recruiting, but it's kind of a nice problem to have.

TB: Have you gotten to know any other parents of Stanford committed recruits?

EA: Just really one or two so far. We've connected a few times with Andre Jones, who's Tai-ler's dad. They were supposed to be coming up with us today but unfortunately Tai-ler got a little sick so they're not here. After football season I think we'll be trying to see if we can get a few more folks together in Atlanta.

TB: We asked Henry this as well, but what's your prediction for today's game?

EA: Cardinal!

TB: By what score?

EA: 24-17.

The Bootleg would like to thank the Anderson's for going out of their way to meet with us before the game. Their time was very much appreciated.

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