Anderson came to West Virginia's attention last summer when he attended one of WVU's summer football camps. It only took about five minutes of tape viewing for the Mountaineers to offer a scholarship to the breakaway runner, and Anderson's return interest was mutual.
"I liked West Virginia all the way through the process," Anderson said. "When I went up there, it was like a family bond. I liked the players and the coaches, and got along with everyone."
Following on to his camp experience, Anderson also had an excellent trip to WVU during the fall, when he took in the Mountaineers' triple-overtime victory over his hometown Louisville Cardinals. While the West Virginia comeback win was important, it was another factor that impressed him all the more.
"That game was great. I got to talk to the coaches and told them how much I liked West Virginia, but what was really good was the way the crowd stayed in the game. They stayed behind the team and stuck with them, even when they were behind."
Anderson has also been the recipient of loyalty from the Mountaineer coaching staff, who has stuck with him ever since their offer a year ago. While he had offers from Louisville, Tennessee, Kentucky and Western Kentucky, and great interest from Notre Dame, Michigan and Michigan State, he decided to stick with the team that had shown the greatest interest in him from the beginning.
"I wanted to focus on the season and work on my grades, so I decided to get it out of the way," he said of the reason for making his choice now. "I'm ready to stop getting questions about it."
Anderson has set some high goals for himself as a senior, so it's easy to understand why he wanted to end the recruiting process. After a junior year in which he rushed for 1576 yards and 27 touchdown on just 166 carries, the AP first team all state pick wants to top the 2000-yard mark, be elected team captain and selected as the state's Mr. Football, and lead St. Xavier to its second state championship in three seasons. Lofty goals, to be sure, but ones that the quietly confident running back seems primed to achieve. He certainly doesn't mind carrying the load for his team, having won MVP honors in the state championship game as a sophomore by rushing 12 times for 151 yards and three TDs.
"We are very team-oriented, so I don't get the ball on every down like a lot of backs do, said Anderson. "So when I do get it, I can just go all out."
Pinning down Anderson's running style can be a bit difficult. On some film clips, he reminds of a younger, pre-knee injury Avon Cobourne, while on others he displays the breakaway speed of a Steve Slaton.
"I've talked to Steve some, and our styles are kind of different," said Anderson, who checks in at 5-9 and 185 pounds. "When I get upset, I can turn it on and be a power back, but I think my breakaway speed is my best asset."
Given Anderson's 9.4 yards per carry average as a junior, it's obvious he's run away from more than a few defenders on high school fields in the Louisville area. Add in his excellent cutting ability and vision, and it's clear that West Virginia is adding another player with the chance to make a huge impact in college.
"I don't really know how that happened," he said. "I just went out for the team, and it was something I liked."
As if all that weren't enough, Anderson said his primary concern right now was his conditioning. He stopped his track participation to focus on that, and wants to be in the best shape possible for his senior year, as well as his college career a year down the road.
A call to Anderson's cell phone yields a rather unusual voice mail. While many athletes have music clips or voices of stars, his fires out a message in Spanish.
"I'm interested in that as a major or minor," he said as he explained his unusual greeting. "This is just my first year taking it, but I like it a lot. That's why I have it there. It's nothing really secret. It just says that I'm not here and that if it's anyone in my family to call my other phone."
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Anderson is up in the air about attending some of the summer camps he was scheduled for, including the Scout.com combine in Louisville, but there is one destination that is firmly inked on his calendar.
"I will definitely be at West Virginia's camps this year," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting back over there again."