Looks Like University Of Illinois - Owen Anderson
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I've learned so much in the last 45 minutes. I seriously don't know how we stayed informed about anything before the Internet. I went from completely scratching my head to full understanding in mere minutes just by clicking this button on the left side of the mouse.
The thing I didn't understand: Owen Anderson was a 2021 recruit committed to Monmouth University and it made total sense. Going into his senior season, has mostly FCS offers, New Jersey kid commits to Jersey Shore University (I believe some of the Monmouth dorms are literally right on the beach). But then he's suddenly listed as a 2022 recruit and he's getting offers from Illinois, Georgia Tech, and Michigan State. How does someone reclassify forward and stay at the same high school? Intentionally flunk a grade or something?
I landed on this question when looking up his film. I thought I had the wrong Owen Anderson because his most recent film said "senior year" and that can't be the case because he's a 2022 recruit and will still play another year of high school ball. But then I began digging and found out... information.
He's going to Monmouth but then he has a big senior season. Other interest arrives, but it's Covid and he can't really visit any other schools who might be showing late interest. He doesn't sign with Monmouth and "let's it ride", so to speak. I've heard of kids going to prep school to get more offers, but I'm not sure I've heard of a player, past Signing Day, deciding to just stay at his high school past his senior year to see if more offers come along.
So I dig around for info at his private high school in New Jersey and found that they have a gap year program. A specific one-year program - post-HS, pre-college - where you can continue your education, just not at college yet. So that makes total sense (and is basically just "prep school" like what Mike Davis was going to do before coming to Illinois). Makes total sense for a kid who wants to wait it out for more offers to enter the "post-graduate program" and bump his recruiting year from 2021 to 2022.
For whatever reason, I just never considered a kid would stay at his high school for another year to see if he can grab more offers. I doubt he can play HS football in the fall (would they let someone play a fifth year?), so this was just a way to extend his recruiting calendar. Had no interest come along, I'm guessing he would have just gotten with the coaches at Monmouth and joined as some kind of second-semester grayshirt or something if they didn't have a 2021 spot anymore. But the offers came, and now he's a 2022 Illinois recruit. Perhaps he'll just do one semester of that post-HS-graduate program and then arrive at Illinois in January.
I remember kids switching high schools in the past for one year of prep school (like Rahkeem Smith going one year post-HS at the Hargrave Military Academy). Kind of juco-lite. I just don't recall an Illinois recruit choosing "gonna do a football-less post-HS gap year to see if more offers come along."
Anyway, Owen Anderson is a TE recruit from New Jersey. He chose to not sign anywhere on Signing Day. Two weeks later, it paid off because Michigan State offered. And then Georgia Tech offered. And then Illinois offered. And then he picked Illinois.
As we've seen from the 94 players who switched to tight end this spring, TE is apparently very important for this offense. So it's no surprise that two of the nine verbals so far are tight ends. One from New Jersey, one from Chicago.
Anderson doesn't play much tight end on his film. He's mostly at wide receiver. But he's at TE on this play, and I think it's pretty tight end-y:
Very Matt LaCosse-y. Tall kid, runs well, fights off tackles once the ball is in his hands. That little curl right there will be a staple of this offense, I think. So I can see how the coaches were watching film, saw this, and said "yep, here's our guy".
The question then: blocking, route running, and more blocking. There's a lot more to playing tight end in college than just that curl. Apparently Michigan State and Georgia Tech thought he could be a P5 tight end, so that's encouraging.
Not sure what else to go through here. Oh, ratings - I should go through ratings. Rivals has him as a 5.5 three-star which is their lowest tier of three-stars. 247 has him with a grade of 84 (three-stars go from 80 to 89). ESPN rates him as a 75 (same as Joey Okla). If you're unfamiliar with ESPN's ratings, here's a list of Illini players given a 75 rating in the 2017~2019 recruiting classes:
2017: Bobby Roundtree, Lere Oladipo, Cam Thomas
2018: Caleb Griffin, MJ Rivers, Jordyn Slaughter
2019: Tarique Barnes, Casey Washington
I like this kind of commitment. It's... creative. During Covid, visits aren't a thing, so you know that kids like Anderson have been falling through the cracks left and right. So find a kid Michigan State discovered and convince him that you need tight ends. And you plan to play them early and often.
As for Tom Cruises, I think that's a solid three. My .25 and .75 streak seems to be broken because this one is stuck right on 3.0.
Owen Anderson - Three Tom Cruises.