Kilton Anderson - A profile in determination

Washington is definitely on the lookout for talent from anywhere in the country. With the internet and social media age taking hold, there is no shortage of players to choose from and one from southwest Florida, Naples QB Kilton Anderson, is very interested in what the Huskies have to offer...

Deep in the rich foliage of Florida lies a utopia in the southwest corner of the Sunshine State called Naples. There is one way in and one way out of this town, which is named after the vast city in Italy. Many people have no clue that the town even exists, but the rich and old know exactly of the tropical paradise.

There are mangrove islands everywhere and some even describe the town as totally devoid of reality. Tarpon is the favorite catch of the residents who live there, who also enjoy the wide variety of palm trees and an environment where no pollution is evident. If you take a walk down Fifth Avenue in Naples, you might see sleek and rare cars, beautiful buildings and extravagant people who have found fortune, fame and great wealth.

There is a high school in this town as well, Naples High School to be exact, which is home to the Golden Eagles football team. A young man, one of the most genuine you will ever meet, leads this team into battle every Friday night from mid-August until early December. He leads a team that receives a lot of attention locally by the full-time residents of Naples; but is relatively unknown to the rest of the country. This young man's name is Kilton Anderson.

Anderson stands about 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 205 pounds and with his bleach blonde hair, he is hard to miss.

Ever since he was born, Anderson's goal has been to become a Division 1 football player. He has worked his whole life to get to the point where he is at now and he is adamant he won't let anything get in the way of his ultimate dream.

Anderson was ecstatic after recently picking up his first offer, South Alabama, which is part of the Sun-Belt Conference. This offer served to fuel a fire deep within him to strive for other D-1 offers.

"The offers provide external validation of your talent," Anderson said. "The attention feels good, but that isn't really what it's all about for me. I don't want 100 offers; I want one great offer."

I asked Kilton what would constitute a great offer. His reply? "A great offer consists of finding a coach that inspires you to reach the next level, and one in which you have chemistry. A strong academic reputation is another qualifier.

"It would be nice to be connected with a program that is already winning championships," Anderson added, "but it would be equally rewarding to lead a team to a championship that has been underestimated."

Anderson would know something about leading a team of underdogs to the promised land. As a sophomore in 2011, with Naples right on the verge of winning their conference, Naples starting senior quarterback Billy Crook went down with an injured ankle. Even though he had never played an entire varsity game up until that point, Anderson stepped in, and three games later would find himself leading the Eagles in the state quarterfinals. There, Naples would succumb to eventual state champion Mainland High School, a school in 13 D-1 recruits, but that would only fuel the fire inside the talented young signal-caller's belly and he, along with the rest of his teammates, would get another shot at Buccaneers.

This past December, Naples and Mainland would meet again in the state semifinals. Anderson, now the starter, had a score to settle. This time however, Mainland would find themselves on the losing end as Naples brought their ‘A-Game' and downed their rivals by a score of 41-14.

One of the most admirable traits that Anderson possesses is positivity. There isn't a moment when you will find him down and out. Sure, everybody gets depressed and sad at various points in their lives, but the thing about Anderson is that he does not hold on to it. He lets things go. This reflects the smooth Florida lifestyle he lives, as well as the mentality he has as an elite quarterback in South Florida. That trait will help carry Kilton far and it has already shown some early benefits.

"I've learned that I have to mentally recalibrate throughout a game and stay loose," Anderson said. "The worst thing you can do is get yourself so worked up you lose your edge. In every game there is good and bad and to persevere you have got to focus on the moment at hand."

Living in an isolated town in southwest Florida appeals to many people, as the area is known for being a location where people come to relax, recreate themselves, or even to escape their past lives. Naples provides an escape from the rest of the country, which is great for some, but it can be a huge obstacle when you are an athlete hoping to play at the next level.

"I'm not going to lie. It's frustrating when you hear about the coaches rotating through the schools on the East Coast," Anderson said. "Coaches from out of state fly in, and then travel the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale circuit. In a day, the coaches can travel to 10 different high schools and meet numerous kids or see them practice. Naples suffers from being geographically isolated, and is perceived as not having the level of talent that the ‘other' coast has.

"Southwest Florida has talent, but coaches have to be here first to see it. It is unfortunate how much under-the-radar talent exists in this town that slips through the cracks. It kills me to see my boys under-recruited. Wherever I end up playing, I am going to be sure the coaches know about the plethora of talent in South Florida."

This is where his positivity kicks in. Many players would get discouraged when they realize their geographical location may hinder their potential offers. Anderson sees this simply as one more obstacle to overcome. He uses this fact to motivate him and to work even harder to gain the recognition he deserves. The only way to get your name out there is to proactively contact people, lots of people, and Anderson is not averse to rejection.

"I'm proud of my accomplishments," Anderson said. "I have no problem with contacting coaches, and sending a link to my highlights. Not everyone is going to appreciate my talent, but there is someone out there who will. My job is to find that person."

Anderson tries to get out to as many camps and combines as he can for two main reasons: exposure and to get better. Anderson has confirmed he will attend camps at Washington, Wake Forest, BYU, Auburn, Georgia Tech, South Alabama and Louisiana. He also mentioned that he has many programs coming to see him in the spring.

"I am a huge fan of the Pacific Northwest, and the Huskies in particular. I am coming up to camp in late June to try my best to get an offer," Anderson noted. "I would love to play for coach (Marques) Tuiasosopo. He is a young coach who has been in the QB trenches. QB skill requirements are shifting, and coach Tui is at the forefront." As a high school quarterback, Anderson looks up to many successful players who were in the same situation that he is in now, in high school.

Johnny Manziel, Colin Kaepernick, and Aaron Rodgers are all role models for Anderson and give him a reason to keep chugging along every day on his journey to realizing his dream. Everybody faces adversity in their lives, but only a select few really thrive off of it and move on to bigger and better things. Anderson hopes he can do just that and with his positivity and the trust in his abilities, his potential seems limitless. Top Stories