Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Three-star OG Anderson flips to Texas
By Max Olson
Three-star offensive lineman Alex Anderson (New Orleans/O. Perry Walker) had a tough decision to make and no time to make it. Late Monday night, he knew, in his gut, that he was ready to choose.
Anderson backed out of his pledge to Arizona State and committed to Texas on Monday, becoming the 22nd member of new coach Charlie Strong’s class.
The 6-foot-3, 275-pound offensive guard will enroll early at Texas and said he’s hoping to be on campus for his first classes on Wednesday.
The decision came after Anderson made back-to-back officials to Texas and ASU, a trip that began in Austin on Thursday and ended on Monday after two days at both schools.
What the decision came down to, he said, was family.
“I visited Arizona State, and the campus was outstanding. I really loved it and wanted to be there, but I had to see the reality of it,” Anderson said. “My family really couldn’t afford [visiting], and I didn’t feel too much at home. So that’s why I had to go in a different direction. I just really wanted to be close to home.”
Anderson had been committed to the Sun Devils since July but quietly reopened his recruitment recently, initially in the hopes of attending Oklahoma State. And then OSU offensive line coach Joe Wickline left to become the offensive coordinator and line coach at Texas.
While Anderson believed he was closing in on an offer from the previous Longhorn staff, the new one made it clear right away that he was a priority.
“When Coach Strong and Coach Wickline came in, they threw me an offer the first day they were there,” Anderson said.
Landing Anderson was crucial for a Texas class that has only one other lineman, four-star center Terrell Cuney (Jasper, Texas/Jasper).
Both of Texas’ starting offensive guards, Trey Hopkins and Mason Walters, are graduating. There’s opportunity to play right away, and Anderson likes his chances.
“I’m coming in to play, and they don’t have much depth and are in a predicament,” he said. “I’ll come in and be a high-impact player right off the bat.”
He never would’ve guessed a few weeks ago that he’d end up at Texas, that’s for sure. When Wickline joined the Longhorns, Anderson knew he had to reconsider things and take a visit. He likes Wickline’s intensity, and he was wowed by the impression Strong made during the official visit.
“He’s a disciplined coach,” Anderson said. “He’s not going to expect nothing but greatness from you. I like that. He wants you to be the best, and he’ll push you to be the best. That’s a program I want to be a part of. I feel like the old Texas is about to be back in effect.”
Anderson will be Texas’ third early enrollee in the 2014 class after tight end Blake Whiteley and linebacker Andrew Beck enrolled last week.