Heeerrre's Carson

UT offensive line commitment Carson Anderson wasn't as highly rated as most early Vol verbals tend to be, but he has shown throughout a standout senior season at Florence (Ala.) High School that he can go nose-to-nose in the trenches with the state's toughest Class-6A competition, and dominate.

No, Carson Anderson doesn't have a big name but he has plenty of game, and he's an athletic 6-foot-2, 275-pound O-lineman that can play any position along the offensive front. Tennessee sees the three-year starter as a future center where his gridiron acumen and superb mobility — he has 5.2 speed — will be a highly valued commodity.

"I actually think I'm being recruited as a center," Anderson told InsideTennessee. "Center is actually my favorite position. I'm the backup center right now because they said they need me more on the outside, but I've played center all through high school at different times. That's my preferred position."

When asked to describe his strengths as a blocker Anderson responded: "I move my feet well. I think I use my hands pretty good. I can drive block, pass or pull, whatever you need me to do. I've graded in the mid 90s this year."

In a late season victory over Sparkman, Anderson graded out at 95 as scored by IT subscriber and longtime high school football talent evaluator Bud Young.

"He's a big boy," Young said. "You can tell he's real solid. He's got a great base, quick feet and he knows how to use his hands without holding. The guy he was playing against was about 6-4, 285, and Anderson dominated him the whole time. He's a real good pass blocker. His technique is especially good for a high school player. There were several times that he made a block to open a hole and still got down field to block someone else. I had him graded out at 95 percent and I didn't give him anything he didn't deserve. He looks like a player. They don't have team captains but you can tell he's a leader by the way his teammates treat him."

Last week Florence (8-3), a high school formed three years ago with a roster of only 48 players, lost a 31-28 heartbreaker to Alabama gridiron giant Hoover High School in the first round of the state playoffs. Hoover kicked a 32-yard field goal with :05 left for victory in front of a crowd reported at 11,000.

Anderson distinguished himself in defeat, posting a practically perfect game as his assigned defender failed to record a single sack, stop or assist. His performance helped the Falcons amass an impressive 465 total yards.

Anderson is no stranger to the weight room where he has been making steady progress. He reports a 320-pound bench press, a 500-pound squat, plus he ran a 5.25 at Tennessee's senior camp last summer.

He is also an honor student with a 3.6 GPA and he earned both All-Area and All-Region honors as a junior. He's sure to collect more hardware for his senior campaign, although accolades could be tempered for an Alabama prospect committed to Tennessee.

That's not to suggest there wasn't plenty of interest from in-state powers Alabama and Auburn. He was invited to junior day on both campuses as well as Mississippi State, but he was already solid Big Orange and had no interest in other overtures.

"Going into the recruiting process other schools started looking at me and I wanted to keep my options open," he said. "But I always knew my heart was really set on Tennessee. When Tennessee offered me a scholarship I knew that's where I wanted to go."

In time, Tennessee fans will be very glad that he did.

Editor's Note: An in-depth feature on Carson Anderson, and his connections to UT, will be in the next issue of Rocky Top News

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