If you're in the heart of Texas and looking for talented 2015 runners, you'll want to stop and pay attention to Rodney Anderson out of Katy. The 6'0, 204 pound tailback figures to be one of the top running backs in the next recruiting cycle -- he's already a top-100 prospect in the February 2014 247Sports Composite rankings, as well as the 10th-best player in all of the Longhorn State.
The more telling ranking, though, is 2 -- as in 2nd among all-purpose backs in the 2015 class. In this positional group, the 4-star Anderson trails only Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern's Taj Griffin. It's not particularly hard to tell why Anderson is so well-regarded, though; he runs a reported 4.43 40, a speed that helped him reach the end zone 33 times as a junior.
Anderson's eight early offers -- as of February 2014 -- have mostly come from in-state schools like Baylor, Texas A&M, Houston, and Texas, although Michigan State and Auburn have both reached out.
A replacement for 2013 Nebraska running back signee Adam Taylor when Taylor went down with an ACL injury early in the 2011 season, Anderson ran for more than 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns despite his youth before seeing 68 fewer carries as a sophomore with Taylor's return, but boosting his yards per carry to over 10. He also displayed his versatility out of the backfield, adding 436 receiving yards on more than 20 yards per catch.
Want even more versatility? Anderson also scored three punt return touchdowns to bring his total on the season to 26, no small feat given that Taylor hogged 44 touchdowns for himself.
As a junior, Anderson took advantage of Taylor's departure by carrying the 196 times for 1,967 yards and 34 touchdowns on the ground. Of course, Katy still used Anderson's well-developed receiving skills as well, as he added 249 receiving yards and five touchdowns through the air.
As a result of his proven receiving prowess, Anderson is projected to spend some time as a wide receiver in college working out of the slot as he has been doing in high school. The question mark surrounding his projection to the college game is that he's perhaps a bit high-cut, but still within the ideal range for a college running back in terms of his height and he physically looks like an older player, not surprising after his massive production as soon as he stepped onto campus at Katy.
A long strider with excellent speed, Anderson has the vision to bounce plays outside, but is also decisive north-south when necessary and capable of getting behind his pads to use his strength to break arm tackles. Since he does have a long stride, he's not the most explosive player in short areas and his feet aren't great in terms of jumps cuts, but overall he's a well-rounded back who knows how to win and has proven durability.