November 16, 2009

In the film room: Latwan Anderson


There is an embarrassment of riches at Glenville Academic Campus in Cleveland, Ohio for the 2010 class and one of the top gems of the group is defensive back Latwan Anderson. Anderson transferred in during the off-season from nearby St. Edward High School and his impact has been tremendous on a Tarblooders squad that is eyeing a state championship.

Whether it's been on offense, defense, or special teams, Anderson has developed a reputation over the last couple of seasons as one of the best playmakers in the state. Anderson's offer list includes schools such as Cincinnati, Georgia, Miami (Fla.), Michigan State, Ohio State, and West Virginia. In this edition of 'In the Film Room', we take a look at some clips of Anderson and breakdown just what makes him such a special player and one of the most heavily recruited prospects in the Midwest.

What he does well...

  • It doesn't take long to find an adjective to describe Anderson and that is explosive. His burst and acceleration allow him to get to his top speed in the blink of an eye and once he's there, the list of players that can run with him is pretty short. There simply isn't a prospect in Ohio that gets to top speed quicker than Anderson. His outstanding acceleration is a major asset when trying to get to the ball while it's in the air or when turning and running in coverage.

  • Though definitely not the biggest guy on the field, Anderson will certainly throw his body around. As fast as he plays, it's almost like a missile coming up from the safety position in run support. A lot of safeties either run very well or tackle very well so to have a prospect that can excel in both areas is a big plus.

  • While most people (including myself) project Anderson on the defensive side of the ball, his fantastic speed in the open field is very hard to ignore. Because of that great speed, Anderson is a weapon both in the return game and on offense. This is definitely the type of prospect that if used creatively, can impact a game in all three phases.

  • One of Anderson's best strengths is something that often gets overlooked when evaluating defensive backs and that is his hands. The old stereotype is that defensive backs are essentially wide receivers that can't catch, but that's not the case with Anderson. As can be seen on the video clip, Anderson makes a very difficult over-the-shoulder one-handed catch and he makes it look incredibly easy. Long story short, if a quarterback makes a poor throw in the vicinity of Anderson, it is likely going to be a turnover.

  • What really makes Anderson a special prospect is his knack for making big, game-changing plays on defense. He is not satisfied with just getting interceptions; he wants to take them back for six points the other way. I call it the 'Ed Reed gene', every interception or fumble recovery has the chance to turn into a touchdown.

  • Areas for improvement...

  • One thing that Anderson can work on is becoming a more instinctive football player. Right now he tends to get by on superior speed and athleticism and can use those attributes to bail him out if he gets caught out of position. At the college level, he will pay for those types of mistakes more often than not.

  • While completely out of his control, another weakness is Anderson's size. At about 5-foot-9, Anderson is vulnerable in coverage against bigger receivers and doesn't possess the ideal size for the safety position. To offset that, he will need to get stronger so that he can try to out-muscle bigger receivers.

  • Outlook:

    There is a lot of debate about which Glenville defensive back is the best between Anderson and fellow senior Christian Bryant. While I tend to side with Bryant in that discussion, there is no doubt that Anderson is an exceptional talent and one of the elite players in the state.

    His ability to cover a ton of ground in a short amount of time as well as his willingness to come up and make the big hit makes Anderson an outstanding free safety prospect and one of the top five or six prospects in Ohio.

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