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Monday, May 13, 2013
Bayou City Beat: Anderson is versatile

By Sam Khan Jr.

Each week this spring, GigEmNation reporter Sam Khan Jr. will bring you notes and nuggets from watching and visiting with high school football prospects in the Greater Houston area that week, including observations of Texas A&M commitments and targets and other players that catch his attention. Here's this week's installment:

KATY, Texas -- In a short amount of time, Katy (Texas) High School 2015 running back Rodney Anderson has accomplished a lot and emerged as one of the most appealing prospects in the state in his class.

Rodney Anderson
Class of 2015 running back Rodney Anderson has six offers and is picking up interest from schools across the country.
And if there's one thing that stands out about Anderson, it's his versatility.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound prospect has been utilized many ways by the reigning 2012 Class 5A Division II state champion Tigers. While his natural position is running back, he has been used as a receiver and as a return specialist. This week during Katy's spring practice, Anderson lined up in different spots depending on the offensive play. Sometimes it was as a tailback, others, he was lined up wide.

The objective, head coach Gary Joseph said, is to simply get Anderson the ball. Though the Tigers have had many great running backs over the years, several who have gone on to play in the FBS, Joseph said he possesses some skills that previous Katy backs didn't.

"We haven't had many that were that versatile," Joseph said. "Aundre [Dean] was good, Donovonn [Young] was real good, Adam [Taylor] was good, but they couldn't catch the ball like this kid can. They can't do the things this kid can do. He's a good player."

Plenty of schools have already noticed Anderson's talent. He holds six offers: Auburn, Baylor, Houston, Michigan State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Anderson said he's in no rush to make a decision and will attend some camps this summer, including Oklahoma. The Sooners, Aggies and Bears were among the schools that stopped in at Katy last week to watch Anderson.

Plenty of talent at Katy

As the reigning state champions, it stands to reason that there's plenty of talent on Katy's roster. It's true.

The 2014 class is headlined by a trio of players: tight end Logan Lister, defensive end Tim Wilkerson and inside linebacker Jake Blomstrom.

Lister is a prospect picking up steam right now in large part because of his size. At 6-4, 241, Lister moves around well, can block and can catch the football. Houston, Rutgers and Texas State have offered and Houston sees him as a possible offensive tackle if he can grow into that position.

Wilkerson played opposite Oklahoma 2013 signee Matt Dimon last season and looks the part (6-2, 230) when it comes to a defensive end at the high school level. He was a first-team all-district pick last year and has offers from Washington State and Toledo with interest from many others.

Blomstrom was a key cog in the Tigers' championship defense last season and this spring he has picked up where he left off. He has good instincts, gets to the ballcarrier and is simply one of the best defensive players in the Houston-area. Rice has offered and Oklahoma has shown some interest, among others.

One thing that was clear to see during Katy's practice was the amount of youth on the field. When its first team defense lined up, the Tigers had a secondary with three of the four players coming from the freshman and sophomore classes. One to definitely keep an eye on is 2016 safety Collin Wilder.

Wilder is 5-11, 180 and played significant time, including getting several starts, last season for the Tigers. That's a rarity for any freshman in the program, but it was easy to see what Wilder can cover, tackle and get to the football. He's smart and appears to take good angles.

The other two young players to watch are cornerback Jovanni Stewart and safety Travis Whillock. Both are 2016 prospects and both will have a chance to start this fall.

North Shore loaded again

Houston North Shore is a program that annually produces FBS talent and this year is no exception.

Zach Whitley
New Alabama commit Zach Whitley Jr. is one of the top linebackers in Texas.
This year's crop is headlined, of course, by 2014 linebacker Zach Whitley Jr., who committed to Alabama earlier this month. When you watch Whitley go in North Shore's best-on-best full-contact drills, it's easy to see why so many schools, including Texas and Texas A&M, wanted Whitley badly.

He's fast, physical and loves to hit. When the Mustangs went to 11-on-11 full-contact drills during a practice early last week, Whitley busted through the line of scrimmaged and forced a fumble on the first play.

He delivered a couple of big hits later and showed that he's proficient at diagnosing the situation and making the right decisions.

But he's not the only one to watch in 2014. NaJee Toran, who plays left tackle but is being recruited as a center by most programs, is proficient at his craft. He's being looked at as a center because of his size (6-2, 242). He has four offers: Boise State, Houston, TCU and Oregon State, with TCU being his stated No. 1.

Diminutive receiver Kevian Deleon is another to keep an eye on, despite his height (5-8). He's quick and agile, is a proficient downfield blocker from the receiver position and is an elite return specialist at the high school level. Houston and Texas are showing interest currently and if a program can overlook his size, he'll likely make someone happy.

There are plenty of 2015 and 2016 prospects to watch but a name to remember for this fall is offensive guard Tyler Moore. He has tremendous size (6-3, 336) and appears to be strong as well. While playing center during practice this week, he took on and took down Whitley to the ground on a play, something you don't often see. Moore will start for North Shore this fall and though he hasn't heard from many schools yet, that will likely change if he can show he's productive.