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August 7, 2013
Anderson's skill set makes him elite
Rodney Anderson started as a freshman at Katy High SChool when 2013 four star running back Adam Taylor was injured. He reeled off a 1,000 yard season with a 7.4 yard per carry average and 16 touchdowns (one per every ten carries). Taylor returned for his senior season in 2012 and garnered the bulk of the work while Anderson carried the ball just 90 times. However, he averaged over 10 yards a carry and ran for 16 touchdowns. In addition, in order to get him on the field, Katy lined him up as a slot and he led the team with 20 receptions, averaged over 22 yards a catch, and scored another seven touchdowns in that role.
The first thing that you notice about Anderson is his coordination, especially his hand/eye coordination. He's a guy that catches the ball very well with his hands and also adjusts to it when it's in the air. On one of his early highlights, he lines up as a slot and goes in motion toward the line. The ball is underthrown on a deep route so he not only has to turn 180 degrees to catch it but has to outstretch his hands as well. He still makes the catch, keeps his balance, and gets into the end zone. As such, he's a versatile guy and fits perfectly into what A&M wants out of its backs.
But even though Anderson is a great pass receiver for a back, that's not why A&M offered him. Anderson has good size at 6 feet and 190 pounds. Katy is typically an I formation outfit and most of Anderson's work is done out of that alignment. Anderson has good burst out of a handoff and gets to the hole quickly. In addition, he's got quick feet and hips to facilitate his ability to change direction.
Anderson has that one underrated aspect of most really good backs and that's balance. The first hit never brings him down, even if it's below the waist. Between his quickness and balance, he is great at making the first tackler miss to get to the second and third level. In fact, he's so well coordinated that on one goal line play takes off and jumps over the goal line, takes a hit, and does a somersault to land on his shoulders for a touchdown. On another, he takes multiple hits at his legs and keeps going for a long touchdown.
He's got pretty good vision. Katy likes to run the sweep with him but he's almost never taking it all the way outside he'll take in his blocking and cut it back up. Because he's so smooth with his change of direction, he's able to hit a hole that's there and gone before you know it. In addition, a lot of talented guys at the high school level run upright because they're just too big and have too much balance to be brought down easily. In contrast, Anderson drops his hips and shoulders and gets his pads lower than a lot of those guys.
Finally, he doesn't seem like a top end guy but because Katy doesn't run much spread, he's always having to deal with a lot of congestion near the line of scrimmage. He gets few opportunities to make a cut and just go with no one in front of him because of alignment. He's avoid runner who's still a physical player.
2015 is considered the year of the running back in Texas and Anderson may well be the best one out there. However, his balance, quickness, and ability to catch the ball probably make him the best back available in the class to fit A&M's needs in the spread offense.
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