Coming from New Orleans, a unique playmaker joined the fold for LSU. Aaron Anderson brings a different dynamic to the 2022 LSU recruiting class.
Anderson is one of the most explosive players in Louisiana pledged to the Tigers this past December. When Anderson jumped on board with LSU, he added a new dimension to a promising wide receiver core. Consider the following about the New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr standout as compared to the LSU 2022 wide receiver commitments.
AJ Johnson, from New Orleans (Isidore Newman) is 6-foot-4, 205-pounds, and Decoldest Crawford, from Shreveport (Green Oaks), is 6-foot-1, 180-pounds. While both players are taller and probably possess the frames to add considerable weight, Anderson provides a complementary skill set to Johnson and Crawford.
Take a look at Anderson’s Hudl highlights. Normally it’s fine to focus on a few clips to preview a prospect’s upside. With Anderson, however, he provides a versatility that cannot be described with three or four clips.
For anyone that watches Anderson perform on the gridiron, there can be several different ways to evaluate him. Because Anderson will join the LSU football program in 2022, here are four attributes that he brings that will likely allow him to make an impact as a freshman.
First, Anderson is just electric as a punt and kickoff return specialist. In fact, Anderson was named to the Louisiana All-State second-team list as an “all purpose” player, and for good reason.
Anderson destroys bad kickoff coverage, and even teams that show good balance with coverage can be overwhelmed by Anderson’s speed, quickness, and timing for making sharp cuts or turning on the jets. Anderson is the definition of an opposing team’s special teams coordinator’s nightmare.
There’s no one way to prepare for him other than to kick the football out of bounds or pooch kick it and hope for the best. Without question, anytime a team kicks the ball to Anderson he will be a threat to take it the distance and score a touchdown.
Second, despite being 5-foot-10, Anderson will make contested catches over the top of defenders. He’s an explosive runner and can really leap in the air and make plays.
It’s rare to see this skill with a wide receiver below 6-feet-0. Quite frankly, it’s fun to watch. Anderson provides mismatches in ways defensive coordinators are not usually accustomed to preparing for because he’s an actual jump ball threat in the red zone.
Third, Anderson provides yards after contact. Built similar to a running back, Anderson bounces off of would be tacklers and churns for extra yards. He’s not only strong, but fearless.
Being able to grind out yardage will be a valuable asset in the meat grinder that’s the SEC West. Further, it allows LSU to utilize Anderson towards the middle of the field with seam routes and crossing routes because he plays through contact. That’s not an automatic with players that are similar size to Anderson.
Fourth, versatility stands out. Anderson is a smooth athlete that can score from practically any place on the gridiron. Kickoffs, punt returns, slip screens, shallow crossing routes, fade patterns into the corner of the end zone, and go routes are all a part of what Anderson proved he’s capable of doing well.
Now LSU needs to find ways to provide Anderson with opportunities to touch the football. He’s an obvious choice for the return game, and he’s probably destined to be a slot wide receiver.
If Anderson proves he can handle the play book, the LSU coaches need to move him around. Run a screen pass with him standing next to the quarterback in the shotgun formation. Anderson could also play the outside wide receiver position and utilize the same talents he’s likely to use as a slot receiver and move them to the perimeter of the offense.
Regardless of how LSU finds ways to place the football in Anderson’s hands, he’s dynamic. He brings a different dimension to the LSU wide receiver group for 2022, and he can be an impact performer for the Tigers.