Henry Anderson is humble by nature

Colts' third-round draft pick is a hard-working defensive end who has a love of the game and plays with great intensity.

Henry Anderson was surrounded by family and friends when he heard his name called in the third round as an Indianapolis Colts draft selection in June.

The defensive end stayed calm amid the hoopla. A sister, Eva, was crying.

It’s not that Anderson wasn’t enthused, but it’s not his style. He’s a low-key guy.

The Colts liked what they saw from him — a hard-working guy on the field and humble one off it. Ask him for a self-appraisal and Anderson will say he’s not an interesting guy.

Two rounds later, the Colts selected nose tackle David Parry, who played alongside Anderson at Stanford. They’re now reunited with other former Cardinal players in quarterback Andrew Luck, tight end Coby Fleener and wide receiver Griff Whalen.

“When (former head coach Jim) Harbaugh came in and turned the program around, he started bringing in better players,” Anderson said. “He was a really good recruiter and just started bringing in better talent, guys that were still smart but had a little better talent than in years past. Stanford has done a good job of bringing in smart, tough guys that love to play football.”

Anderson, 22, is from Atlanta, the hometown of Colts all-time sack leader Robert Mathis. The rookie recalled watching Mathis and former Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney in recent years.

At 6-6 and 294, Anderson fits the defensive end position in a 3-4 scheme. He’s expected to back up new starter Kendall Langford, who was signed during free agency. Like Parry, Anderson is known for having a relentless motor and for getting backfield penetration.

He’s been known for his strength since high school, when he set a state record by winning the Georgia championship in the shot put.

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Anderson is one of many new faces on a Colts defense looking to take the next step after back-to-back playoff losses to the rival New England Patriots. The Colts paid particular interest in players who could help bolster a run defense that wilted in January.

In addition to Langford, the Colts signed outside linebacker Trent Cole, inside linebacker Nate Irving and safety Dwight Lowery during free agency. They also drafted Georgia linebacker Amarlo Herrera in the sixth round.

As a fifth-year senior at Stanford, Anderson led the team with 15 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.

NFL.com analyst Mike Mayock said liked the Colts’ pick: “He’s long with deceiving strength. I think he’s an NFL starter all day long. He plays hard all day long and is a better athlete than you think. This is a really good pick here.”

True to form, Anderson was understated about his adjustment to the NFL. There’s only so much to be learned from summer workouts in shirts and shorts. He’ll have a better idea of what the pro game is about when the team starts practicing in shoulder pads during training camp.

“Without pads on, it’s hard to simulate the speed of the game,” he said.

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The Colts report for training camp Aug. 1 at Anderson University.

Until then, expect the rookie to keep it cool.

“I just like hanging out with my buddies and playing video games and just kind of chilling,” Anderson said. “I’m not too interesting.”

He laughs when asked about his smooth demeanor on draft day.

“I had a bunch of people staring at me when I was doing all that, so I didn’t want to get too excited because I knew all of them were watching me,” he said, smiling. “My sister (Eva) was in front of me and she was crying, so I had to tune that out.”

There’s no crying in the NFL, at least not in Anderson’s world.

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.


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