Over the next 15 days, we will feature Southern Arizona’s top football players. Our list continues today with Dante Anderson, who figures to be a workhorse for Amphitheater and first-year coach Jorge Mendivil.
The rundown: Dante Anderson, RB/OLB, 5-9, 206, Amphitheater, senior
Who he is: A well-balanced running back, capable of following up an elusive juke with a thundering hit, who burst onto the scene over the final half of his junior season last fall. Through his first 16 games on varsity, Anderson compiled a modest 788 rushing yards (1,034 total), showing flashes of potential as a secondary option in the Panthers offense.
With Anderson finally at full strength after an early season leg injury and Amphi fighting for a playoff spot, the junior took his game to another level over the final four games. His mix of unbelievable feet, great vision and physicality, as Mendivil describes his running style, helped the dual-threat back average nearly 222 yards of total offense per game over the stretch.
Now, Anderson will be the featured athlete of Amphi’s new Wing-T offense, and the soft-handed athlete is embracing the responsibility. “I’ve been ready since the first time I stepped out onto the field,” he said.
Proof he’s good: His nose for the end zone. Even more impressive than the yardage, Anderson scored 11 touchdowns over the final four games last year, including five in a season-finale victory against Santa Rita. He said he wanted to send the seniors off on the right note, but now has to continue the momentum into 2014. Of course, the modest Anderson set his base expectations low, hoping to achieve 1,000 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. Mendivil’s joking response when Anderson told him the goals: By midseason? “I think he’s going to be one of the top players in Tucson, definitely, and one of the guys that’s really going to pop out when you look at him on film,” the first-year coach said. In addition to learning the intricacies of a new position as an outside linebacker, Anderson has concentrated on improving his burst and put on 10 pounds of muscle. His plan after high school is to study marketing, but he wants his collegiate life to include football as well. He has talked with Brown as well as several other schools.
He said it: “I don’t know a guy on the team that doesn’t like him, or anybody that I’ve talked to that doesn’t like him. He’s an outgoing personality, one of those Type-A guys that has that infectious personality. You look at him and you smile because he has that type of character. It’s exciting when a player not only has that athletic ability but has that personality to go with it.” — Mendivil