Anderson's a Vol

For the second year in a row, Tennessee's football program has plucked the first recruit of its signing class from its own backyard.

Anthony Anderson, a 6-2, 175-pound junior receiver/defensive back from Knoxville's Austin-East High School, committed this week to Vol assistant Dan Brooks. He is the first commitment for 2007. The Vols' first commitment for their 2006 signing class was Powell's Lee Smith.

"I always wanted to be a Tennessee Volunteer and play football for them," Anderson told The Knoxville News-Sentinel. "When they offered me a full scholarship, I knew that's where I wanted to go."

On a Friday radio show, Anderson said he felt "honored and blessed" that the Vols offered him a scholarship when they held Junior Day on Jan. 28.

Austin-East head coach Kwayu Graham believes the Big Orange has gotten a quality person, as well as a quality player.

"He's led by example but he also can command," Graham said. "He does everything to the max, and kids respect that. Anthony's a special kid…. He's a leader on the team, in the church and in the classroom."

The Roadrunner coach calls Anderson "one of my favorite people," and says he knew early on that the young man was going to be exceptional.

"His freshman year I knew he was going to be a great player," Graham says, "because of his work ethic."

Anderson intercepted seven passes last season and returned three for touchdowns. He averaged better than 35 yards on punt returns with two more touchdowns. He also played wide receiver.

Graham hopes to maximize Anderson's big-play skills on offense in the season ahead, noting: "I have to find ways to get this kid the ball."

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