Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Oklahoma Sooners [Print without images]

Wednesday, May 8, 2013
2015 RB Anderson a special sophomore

By Sam Khan Jr.

Rodney Anderson
Rodney Anderson has offers from Auburn, Baylor, Houston, Michigan State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
KATY, Texas -- When Rodney Anderson got called up to Katy High School's varsity squad for the Tigers' 2011 season opener, he was unsure what to expect.

Then a 160-pound freshman, the 2015 running back was elevated as a receiver to help in an area in which the Katy coaches felt they needed a boost in depth.

"It was a huge adrenaline rush," Anderson said of his new responsibilities. "Mentally, I was just trying to make sure I remembered everything and carried out my assignments."

One injury to a teammate changed everything: his position, his playing time, his future.

Now, as one of the brightest sophomores in Texas, Anderson is fielding offers from major programs around the country and growing into potentially one of the best players to come through Katy. And considering the Tigers' history -- seven state championships -- that's saying something.

"He's one of the best football players that I've coached because he can do so many things," said Katy coach Gary Joseph.

Colleges have noticed, too. Anderson already holds six offers: Auburn, Baylor, Houston, Michigan State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Plenty of others are interested. Oklahoma running backs coach Cale Gundy stopped by Tuesday to see Anderson. A&M stopped in Monday and Baylor is expected Wednesday, he said.

But let's rewind to where things started for Anderson at Katy. Though he was a running back for the freshman squad, the coaches moved him up to varsity to help with depth at receiver. Then, in the 2011 season opener, 2013 running back Adam Taylor tore his ACL and was lost for the remainder of the season.

In the next game, with Taylor sidelined, Anderson was moved to running back and was third-string at the position, but injuries and other circumstances prompted the coaches to push forward the young freshman. Before Anderson knew it, he was becoming the bell cow for a perennial state power, something rare in Katy football.

As a freshman, he led the Tigers with 1,169 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns on 159 carries. Last season, with Taylor -- a Nebraska signee -- back in the fold, healthy and poised for a career year, Anderson embraced a broad role that involved lining up at receiver, running back and punt returner. He scored touchdowns every way and led the Tigers -- who won a Class 5A Division II state championship in 2012 -- in receiving with 436 yards and seven touchdowns.

Anderson has grown since that first game in 2011. Now he stands at 6-foot-1 and is a rock solid 205 pounds. Watch the Tigers practice as Anderson lines up in the backfield, splits out wide, goes in motion and more, and it's clear they have specific intentions for Anderson this fall.

"We're going to do the same thing we did last year," Joseph said. "Give him the ball."

Rodney Anderson
Anderson said he's been recruiting the hardest by Baylor and Texas A&M and that he will attend a camp at Oklahoma this summer.
Anderson is a rarity in that he has already logged 29 varsity games in two seasons for Katy before the start of his junior year. Joseph said that in the last 31 years only two Katy players have been regular starters on varsity as freshmen: Anderson and 2016 safety Collin Wilder.

Another bit of history that Anderson has made has to do with his leadership. He is just the third non-senior, according to Joseph, to be elected as a team captain by his teammates. Anderson has been tabbed for that role this year.

"He's a quiet kid," Joseph said. "He's very comfortable with who he is and I think the kids know that, too. He's a good player, too, and I think they understand that. They know he's going to do the right thing. That's the kind of role model you want to be a captain, so I feel good about him being in that role."

When it comes to recruiting, Anderson isn't rushing things. He likes Baylor and Texas A&M because they're giving him the most attention, and he plans to attend a camp at Oklahoma this summer. But he wants to take his time.

"It's early," he said. "I'm just playing it out and make sure I make the right decision for myself."

Until then, the soon-to-be high school junior remains focused on running past opponents -- and perhaps several Katy records.

"Personally, I want to beat everything that Adam did," Anderson said. "Because Adam beat everything that Donovonn [Young] did and Donovonn beat everything that Will Jeffery did, and so on. I'm trying to keep it going and build on it."