What kind of player is Penn State getting in three-star early enrollee Richy Anderson? And what can fans expect from the player who flipped from Maryland?
NittanyNation turned to one of the people who knows most what Anderson is capable of on the field -- Ben Wright, his high school coach at Frederick (Md.) Gov. Thomas Johnson -- and asked what separates the running back/wide receiver as a player, how he first noticed Anderson's ability and when he especially showcased his potential.
Anderson is currently playing the slot for the Nittany Lions.
Wright, on what separates Anderson from others at his position: "We played him in the slot and at tailback, and he was probably our best receiver. He'd run your pass route, and he can recognize coverages really well, so he'd get where you wanted him to. It takes a lot to learn that. He's pretty fast, got real good moves and he has real good lateral cuts. He's definitely a competitor.
"I think fans are going to be surprised at how well he catches the ball. He jumps up, and he's very physical going for the ball. He doesn't look like a freshman. When you watch kids play, there are just some that see the field really well -- and he does. He knows how to evade defensive players."
When he first knew Anderson would be special: "I knew that when he was in seventh grade when he was in a youth league. He just had a lot of skills. He ran intensely and played hard. He could catch, throw and move well laterally. You could just tell then he was a good player.
"So, yeah, I saw him play in seventh -- and he broke his arm in eighth so he didn't play that season -- but I had already seen him play. He played for a couple different organizations, but any team he played for, he was the best player. You could tell right away. Everybody said the kid was good. Even then, he was pretty driven. He was mature. I think his dad [former PSU running back Richie Anderson] being a coach for the Kansas City Chiefs at that time imparted in him a lot."
When Anderson surprised him or really showcased his ability: "I know we beat a team that won the state championship in his 10th-grade year. And, late in the game, he broke off a run and instead of going to the outside, he cut inside. I asked him why he did that, and he said he wanted to keep the clock running. That's pretty mature for a 10th-grader. He understood the game. It was later in the game, the fourth quarter and we're winning. They didn't have any timeouts left, so he knew not to run up the sideline.
"And, in the playoffs his junior year, he'd really rise to the occasion. He had a big run every game, probably. He ran back punts, played some defense, and you could tell he was good."