Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Jordan Anderson, RB, Virginia State
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
Five teams recruited me out of High School – The University of Maryland, The University of Miami (OH), James Madison University, Northeastern University, and Youngstown State University
Where did you choose and why?
I chose to go to James Madison University because of the atmosphere of the college. When I went on my recruiting visit the campus felt like home. When meeting with the academic advisors, I toured the new chemistry department and instantly fell in love. James Madison also had future plans to move their football program to Division 1-A and the coaches to;d me that I would be a valuable piece in the puzzle to do so. Going to James Madison I knew that it would have the best chance to play and contribute to the team and University. The proximity of James Madison University to my home was also a key factor. Being an hour in a half away from home meant that my family would be able to attend my games regularly.
I also attended Virginia State University for many of the same reasons that I attended James Madison. I instantly felt the great atmosphere of the college and football program. Another reason I chose to attend Virginia State was due to the fact that two of my coaches on staff coached at James Madison. The program at Virginia State was headed into a new direction with my coach being the new head coach and being a part of that meant a lot to me. Choosing to attend Virginia State I was able to enroll in a graduate program furthering my education as well as pursing a football career.
What were your goals for your senior year?
My goals for my senior year were to change the mindset of the Virginia State University. I wanted to bring a winning mentally to the university and the football program. Knowing that I would be essentially playing in a lower division (division II) I wanted to instill a division I mentality to my fellow teammates. Personally coming into my senior season, my goals were to become the best running back to play at Virginia State University. I also wanted to lead my team to and win the conference championship as well as the Division II NCAA Championship. To become an All-American and hold some school records would have been cool as well.
At your position, what separates you from the others?
I feel that my preparation for the game separates me from others in my position. Throughout my college career I have learned that it takes more than just practice to prepare for a game. With that being said my knowledge of the game has increased as I spend countless hours studying practice and game film. I take care of my body whether it is getting treatment in the training room or getting enough rest at night. Taking pride in my conditioning also helps set me apart from others; I push myself to be the most in shape skill position on the field.
Tell us what you look for when breaking down film?
When breaking down film I look for a team’s defensive tendencies. I look to see what a team’s base formation is, what formations they change to depending on the situation in the game. After studying those key points, I look for stand out players. I look to see how players play; where they usually fit, habits, and conditioning.
Who was the toughest player you have ever faced?
The toughest player that I ever played against was Arthur Moats for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?
I would say that my style of play is like that of Arian Foster. Not so much of height but the things that he brings to the table as a running back in the NFL. He is a versatile running back that can run the ball between the tackles and outside the tackles, pass block, as well as be a receiver out of the backfield. He is a hard worker and obtains the clutch factor for his team.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
Being a military brat the biggest obstacle I have had to face my entire life was moving from state to state. I would constantly become the new kid having to start and build everything all over again. Once I attended college I thought that moving would all be over but, in fact I transferred from James Madison to Virginia State. Sticking to what I had learned growing up is what led me to overcome this obstacle. Having the dream to continue to play football after college, transferring my senior year would make things more difficult. I stuck to my values of who I am, focused on the task at hand, and led by example. Moving around growing up put me as the underdog to have to prove myself. When I transferred I kept that same underdog mindset and continued to fight my way to the top.
What system fits your style of play the best?
I wouldn’t say a specific system fits my style as I have been in many different systems from moving around throughout my football career. However, I enjoy playing in the zone scheme offense as it allows me to become a dynamic running back. The zone scheme gives me the ability to dissect the defense as I am playing the game regardless of how an opponent lines up on defense. Although each play may have the same concept, the outcome can be attained in many different fashions. The spread offensive scheme is fun to play in because the defense has to spread out to cover the wide receivers, thus provides me with lanes to gain chunks of yards on any given carry.
What is your biggest strength?
My biggest strength is that I know how to properly watch and break down film and carry it over to the game. I am able to ask questions and formulate scenarios in my head of what could happen and how to prevail within the scenario before the fact.
What is your biggest weakness?
My biggest weakness would be that I tend to run high at times when running between the tackles. Running high between the tackles decreases the power from my legs when running and it is easier for a defender to slow me down to make a tackle. Usually if I am running too high I am looking to make a cut before there is one present; which keeps me from gaining yardage that I would gain if I was running with a forward lean.
If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?
That I am an extremely hardworking individual that doesn’t give up until the task is completed. I am very accountable thus, giving you the ability to trust me in any situation on and off the field. I keep myself out of trouble, I take the time to ask questions, and I am interested in learning.
Growing up, who was your role model?
My role model growing up would be my mother. I chose my mother because through her actions she showed not only me but my siblings as well that anything is possible when you work for it. My mother had three children as she attended college full-time while working part-time after separating from the U.S. Air Force. After receiving her undergraduate degree attended law school full-time at The College of William and Mary. She became a lawyer and now is a JAG in the US Air Force. I look up to my mother because she showed me what the true definition of hard work, sacrifice, and success is. Not once did she complain that she was too busy or tired if we needed something she just continued to work. Being a student-athlete I knew that it would be tough but not once did I think that I couldn’t succeed on or off the field. I am in the position I am in because of her and I continue to make sacrifices and work hard to achieve my goal of playing in the NFL.
Who was your favorite team and player in the NFL and why?
My favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys. My favorite player is Emmitt Smith not only because he played on my favorite team because he prepared and worked hard to be remembered as one of the great players of the game. Emmitt viewed obstacles as walls that were set up to run through. Coming out of Florida where he played his collegiate ball several teams passed on him because critics viewed him as being “too slow and too small” however, that didn’t deter him from his goals. He proved the critics wrong continuously as he worked hard winning three super bowls in his career. As other running backs who came and gone from the NFL who were to be thought to be better than Emmitt, he continued to stay on his path and work to achieve his goals. Emmitt now holds the NFL leading rusher and rushing touchdown record in a career. He also is now recognized in the Hall of Fame. If Emmitt gave in to the critics’ opinions, believing that he was too small, too slow, or too old and had not stuck with his beliefs, he and many others would not have the luxury of looking back at one of the best careers as a running back to this date. Sticking to your values, working hard, and fighting to be the best that you can be is why Emmitt is my favorite player. I now hold the record for the leading rusher and rushing touchdowns at Virginia State because I have took on the mindset of Emmitt Smith and still possess the mindset as I make my journey to one day play in the NFL.
What was the most tragic event that ever happened in your life and how did you overcome it?
I haven’t had a tragedy in which I needed to overcome.
If you were to have dinner with three people dead or alive who would it be?
Obama, Martin Luther King Jr., and Abraham Lincoln
With your first paycheck what would you buy?
With my first paycheck I wouldn’t buy anything, I would open two saving accounts for my younger brother and sister and start their college fund because without education the bar becomes set for how far one can strive.
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