Now that East Lansing (Mich.) High wide receiver Andrel Anthony has joined Michigan's 2021 class, the Wolverines now have four tall receivers committed, and each one offers a few different strengths.
Standing at 6-2 and around 170 pounds, Anthony is a versatile player that has worked to round out his game over the past few seasons. Last year, Anthony was the main target on offense for the Trojans, so naturally he attracted a lot of attention from opposing defenses. Despite the combo coverage he faced, Anthony still turned in a productive season and helped push his team to a 7-3 record.
“I'm lengthy. That's what I get called a lot,” Anthony told Wolverine Digest. “I have speed and acceleration is a big thing I've been working on for the past three years, so I'd say that's a plus of mine as well as being long and a good route runner. That's one thing I've learned over the past year. Route running helps everybody out a lot. I think definitely speed, going up for a pass I have a large radius for jump balls, and my instinct as well by adjusting to short passes.”
These qualities put Anthony on the map from a recruiting standpoint. According to Rivals.com, Anthony is a three-star receiver and checks in as the No. 15 prospects in the state of Michigan for the 2021 cycle, but it is a notably strong class and deeper than in recent years.
“I grew a lot mentally and physically last year,” Anthony said. “I learned a lot that season. Really learning how to be double and triple covered because that's what I faced all year. That was also a mental thing as well because who wants to be double teamed? I persevered to work through that. I used it in practice every week. When we do drills and stuff like that, they'd put double teams against me and they'd be better for it and it makes my quarterback especially better. He can't loft the ball there, so it's got to be a tight throw. I also learned a lot as well from route running to the little mechanics as a wide receiver, and also the mechanics of defensive backs as well.”
Based on those attributes, Anthony was used both in the slot where he could use his quickness to take advantage of the size mismatches that he faced. However, East Lansing also utilized the Michigan commit's length on the outside, so he moved around the formation in 2019, and that is something he can expect at the college level as well as many programs viewed him as both an inside and outside receiver.
“It's been a mixture, and just depending on the system,” Anthony said. “I know some are talking about me on the outside, but they also [mention] putting me in motion. They do line up in the slot. They are just not primarily in the slot I guess you could say. It really alternates, so I wouldn't say just one [position]. It varies based on how the offense is set up.”
In terms of the upcoming season, Anthony is not satisfied with the resume that he has built thus far and has worked steadfastly over the offseason to improve a few key areas of his game.
“Personally, I want to work on more route running staff, contested catches and also breaking loose on more short passes as well,” Anthony said. “Not everything can go deep, so just to be more elusive as well.”
The recruiting staff at Sports Illustrated broke down film of every wide receiver in the 2021 class, and Anthony was named an All-American candidate for his effort. Here is the breakdown of what he brings to the table:
Frame: Tall and well-proportioned. Average width across upper body tapers to skinny waist. Narrow, tightly-wound thighs and calves. Under-developed trunk. Ample room for additional weight.
Athleticism: Smooth. Impressive quickness and overall agility. Makes hard, decisive cuts, firing out with force. Excellent body control in the air and as ball-carrier. Outstanding hands; catch radius provides massive throwing window for quarterbacks. Good speed and burst, but not game-breaking.
Instincts: Keen ability to track ball in air. Knows how to “box out” defenders in jump-ball situations. Dangerous on the ground; routinely makes first defender miss. Savvy route-runner who adjusts track based on coverage.
Polish: Extremely reliable pass-catcher. Accomplished route-runner already, showing nuance in shoulders and hips while stemming. Needs to vary release. Attacks the entire field, lining up in several different spots across formation. Blocking ability largely unknown.
Bottom Line: Anthony’s lack of elite speed and acceleration is his only glaring weakness. Once he fills out his body and further refines his route-running ability, don’t be surprised if he outplays many receivers ranked far ahead of him. Projects as Power-5 difference-maker, with All-Conference ceiling depending on development.
Now, Anthony joins Markus Allen, Cristian Dixon and Xavier Worthy in what has become a strong crop of wide receiver prospects for the Wolverines.
Where do you see Anthony lining up at the most in college, on the inside or outside? Where would you try him out at first? Let us know!