Anderson aims to claim No. 1 wide receiver spot on Max Preps
NATCHEZ — Just being mentioned as one of the top 10 returning high school wide receivers in the nation isn’t enough for Cathedral’s Jardarius Anderson.
Anderson was shocked he made Max Preps’ list of top returning receivers, but the junior wideout thinks he could have been higher than No. 8 on the high school websites’ list if the Green Wave would have reached the playoffs in 2013.
“I want to be No. 1,” said Anderson, struggling to accept being ranked behind other talented wide receivers from New Jersey, Texas and North Carolina.
Anderson is working hard to achieve that goal. He’s worked on his speed all summer, trying to emulate his favorite football player — Alabama’s Amari Cooper.
“I believe I have a style like him,” Anderson said. “I’m trying to get my speed up to that level.”
Over the summer, Anderson visited an Alabama camp with seven other Cathedral Green Wave players, where he got to sit in Cooper’s locker and even meet the Biletnikoff Award candidate, which is given to the top receiver in college football. During the three-camp session, Anderson met Alabama coach Nick Saban, as well, and told him Cooper was his favorite player.
“He said, ‘you look like you could be him, but I don’t know yet,’” Anderson said.
Anderson’s 85 catches for 1,477 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns in 2013 sets the bar high for the wide receiver to try and top in 2014. Anderson hopes to repeat those numbers, but understands it will be harder with teammates Dee Fleming and Quinton Logan getting their share of touches.
“It’s one of my goals to top it, but it might be hard with all of those new players we have,” Anderson said. “I think I can still get it, though.”
Because of his high offensive production in 2013, Rushing is going to play him in different situations to try and get his impact player more touches. One of those positions is quarterback.
“You’ll see him line up wide, at the slot, in the backfield and he’ll take some snaps,” Rushing said. “We’re trying to come up with different ideas to get him the ball.”
Rushing said Anderson would be just as valuable on defense as he will be on offense, if not more. Rushing wants to use his athleticism in a rover position that allows him to make tackles and make plays on the ball. Once the ball is in the air, few can adjust and make plays like Anderson.
“He high points the ball as good as anybody I’ve coached,” said Rushing, describing Anderson’s ability to time his jump and catch the ball.
In 2014, Rushing has multiple skill players in Fleming, Logan, R.J. Givens and Anderson to attack defenses vertically. In Anderson, he has a player that has the athleticism to tilt the game’s outcome in favor of the Green Wave.
“He’s that kid that can make a play that changes games,” Rushing said.