After Texas’ struggles at offensive tackle this past season and losing Connor Williams to the NFL, if I told you they were going to sign a three year FBS starter at the position on the heels of that would you believe me? Not only was former Rice left tackle Calvin Anderson a three year starter for the Owls, he logged almost 40 starts and comes with All-Conference accolades on his resume.
If you haven’t watched Anderson’s film yet, all you need to know is that since he declared he was transferring national powers like Auburn, Michigan, and Notre Dame along with Texas have been hot on his trail and have been out to meet with him over the past month. Anderson is probably the most sought after graduate transfer on the market, as he provides you with a guy who you can plug and play at left tackle from the moment he steps on campus.
This is an example of the planets aligning in favor of Texas. Anderson is an Austin native who graduated from Westlake HS, so he has plenty of familiarity with the program already. On top of that Texas already has a couple of fellow Westlake graduates on the roster in Sam Ehlinger and Breckyn Hager, so once again you already have some familiarity there. Texas has a massive void at left tackle being left by the departed Williams, and they were going to have a hard time filling that void with someone on the roster this spring. That was until Anderson came along and announced his intentions to take the graduate transfer route.
This was a match made in heaven from the very beginning. Texas gets a starting caliber left tackle and Anderson gets a chance to audition for the NFL on the big stage in his hometown. I call that a win-win situation.
Name: Calvin Anderson
High School/University: Austin Westlake/Rice University
City & State: Austin, TX/Houston, TX
Height: 6’5 (unverified)
Weight: 300 (unverified)
40-yard time: N/A
2016: Credited with 26 knockdowns and five pancake blocks
— Calvin Anderson (@THE_CONDA25) January 7, 2018
- Possesses solid size for the tackle position and appears to have good enough length to stick at the position long term.
- Possesses good feet and athleticism that will benefit him as a pass protector and as an edge setter in the zone run game.
- Displays good balance and coordination when engaged with defenders and moving between levels.
- One of the most efficient pass protectors in the country in 2017 according to PFF at a spot that Texas struggled most of the season.
- Moves well laterally and shows he is capable of creating cutbacks on the backside of zone plays.
- Battle tested as a run blocker given Rice’s offensive style of play and shows that he will finish blocks and has solid functional strength.
- Shows the ability to control and steer defenders as a run blocker.
- Very smart kid who has proven to be very coachable given his development to date.
- Plug and play tackle from the moment he arrives on campus. Capable of starting for most Power 5 schools right now.
- The pass blocking efficiency numbers may be a little inflated due to Rice’s offensive style of play.
- Wanted to see more of him as a pass protector in more true drop back pass situations, so that’s a bit of a question mark, though I think he is athletic enough to fare well there.
- Has a tendency to torque or throw guys in the run and pass game, which isn’t necessarily technique sound.
- Can still manage to improve his functional strength, but It isn’t an overwhelming issue at this point.
- Making a huge jump in competition from Conference USA to a Power 5 conference, so the uptick in competition could potentially present some issues.
After making my way through Anderson’s film a few times it’s easy to see why the big dogs have come calling for him after deciding to transfer. He’s got good tackle size, good athleticism, good feet, possesses good functional football strength, and on top of all of that he’s a finisher. One thing that’s obvious from watching his cutups is that Rice runs the ball a ton and particularly inside and outside zone. Texas wasn’t able to generate a lot of success running outside zone in 2017 because they didn’t have tackles who moved well enough laterally to be able to set the edges, so seeing Anderson being able to do that is very encouraging. Anderson moves very well for his size and you don’t ever see him look uncoordinated on the move, which again is a good sign of his overall athleticism. Even on wide techniques or as he climbs to the second level he arrives under control and is able to engage his targets without much trouble. As I’ve often noted before when breaking down offensive linemen, I put a premium on finding guys who put film on of them playing with a nasty disposition and who finish their opponents and Anderson shows me both of those traits on tape. Anderson graded out highly as a pass blocker according to PFF College and while he does feature some good clips of himself in pass pro, I wish there were more clips of straight drop backs of him on tape so I had a better picture of him in that regard. I’m not too worried based on all that I’ve seen from him and the traits he possesses, but it’s something I noted while watching him.
Landing Anderson is home run and a half for Tom Herman and Texas. There is no real way of making anyone feel good about the idea of replacing a guy like Connor Williams, but having Anderson step in to fill the gap is one hell of way to do it.
Like Williams, Anderson has his sights set on playing on Sundays and now he has a chance to showcase his talents on the big state every Saturday in Austin at left tackle. Yes I’m calling him the left tackle here and now because this was obviously the selling point from the start by the staff as they courted Anderson from the beginning. Getting Anderson in the boat allows a guy like Sam Cosmi more time to sit in the incubator and to continue developing instead of being rushed into action before he is ready. Texas needs to be able to get back to where they are able to redshirt and develop their linemen on both sides of the ball and this isn’t a bad starting point.
Landing Anderson drastically changes the outlook of the Texas offense for 2018 for the positive. Not only does it allow guys to incubate longer, it also could allow a guy like Derek Kerstetter to kick back inside where his ceiling is higher and he is more comfortable.
Things weren’t very pretty for the Texas offense in 2017, but with them adding pieces like Anderson they are heading in the right direction.
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