Rice graduate transfer offensive tackle Calvin Anderson has made his decision, and that means the Texas Longhorns added arguably the most significant addition to their 2018 class on Saturday, as Anderson announced via Twitter his intention to return to Austin and join the Longhorns over his three other finalists, Auburn, Michigan, and Oklahoma.
— Calvin Anderson (@THE_CONDA25) March 10, 2018
(Video courtesy of @SuperK_TFB & @TrillArt ) pic.twitter.com/13FjH3ElTl
Anderson comes to Texas after starting 36 consecutive games for Rice over his three seasons in Houston, and brings a wealth of talent, as well as experience to a unit that was much maligned in 2017
According to Pro Football Focus, he finished both his 2016 and 2017 campaigns as one of the top linemen in the country, and rated out better than all but one Texas offensive lineman.
In 2017, Anderson was one of the most efficient pass blockers in the all of FBS, allowing just one sack and six hurries in 290 pass-blocking snaps for the Owls. The site gave his junior campaign a grade of 82.8 for the year. For context, Connor Williams graded out at a 85.7 and was the only Texas lineman with a higher grade than Anderson last season.
The Westlake product was a hot-commodity on the transfer market this offseason, as well as a top priority for the Texas staff. Anderson met with coaches from Michigan, TCU, Oklahoma and Auburn, in addition to Texas.
The Longhorns even enlisted fellow Westlake graduates Sam Ehlinger and Breckyn Hager to help recruit Anderson during the offseason.
Texas fans, show my man @THE_CONDA25 some love! We had a blast at the best restaurant in Austin! pic.twitter.com/txzItgGoYf— Sam Ehlinger (@sehlinger3) January 22, 2018
As a graduate transfer, Anderson will be able to play immediately for the Longhorns, and hopes to be a major contributor for the Longhorns in 2018 to improve his shot at playing in the NFL.
Bearing in mind Anderson’s importance to the program’s immediate future and Anderson’s NFL aspirations, Texas can largely credit its latest addition to recently-hired offensive line coach Herb Hand, whom Anderson raved about in a recent interview with 247Sports.
“I think Herb Hand is a big one for me because Herb Hand was the first guy to come meet me on the recruiting (trail),” Anderson said. “As soon as this whole recruiting thing started … he was recruiting me to come to Auburn. And it was good because the pitches that he had for me were less like pitches and more like reasons why he believes I am individually a good player and why he thinks he can help me improve my game. So I like that.”
“We talked a lot about his impact that he can have on me, so when he went over to Texas it wasn’t like he was changing up his recruiting pitch. He was saying the exact same thing he had been saying to me the entire time,” Anderson added. “I appreciated that, so I was drawn to coach Herb from the get go regardless of what school he was at, because I think that he can have a big impact on my future as an offensive lineman as I move to the professional level next year.”
With Anderson now in the fold, he become’s the frontrunner to fill in for Williams at left tackle, and if Texas gets its way, he’ll bolster an offensive line that struggled mightily in 2017.