If a boy grows up playing football in West Virginia, chances are he might want to play for the Mountaineer football team. Only a select few get a chance to do that and there are even fewer players who grow up in the University City that get a chance to play for the Mountaineers. Morgantown native and linebacker Tyler Anderson is one of the few who has been able to do that.
Anderson was a first-team all-state performer his senior year for the Morgantown Mohigans and had some scholarship offers from some mid-major schools, but that wasn’t enough to lure him away from his dream. So Anderson decided to walk-on at WVU.
“It was a decision I made by myself that I really wanted to come here,” explained Anderson. “I realized I could play here and compete with everybody else. I had the opportunity and once they gave it to me [you just] have to keep improving.”
And improving is what Anderson has done. After red-shirting his true freshman season, he saw a lot of time on special teams in his second season and contributed at the strong side linebacker position last season. New linebackers coach Keith Patterson says he’s been impressed with what he’s seen from Anderson through six spring practices. Anderson says he just goes out everyday and tries to get better.
“Everyday if you don’t go out and compete everyday you’re not trying to improve,” said Anderson. “Everyday you have to come out with that mindset that you want to get better at what you’re doing to try and get that spot.”
The 6-foot-2 linebackers has been making progress ever since he arrived on campus in 2009 and there have been a lot of people in Morgantown who have watched him progress since he was in high school. Anderson says there are people he doesn’t even know who’ve come up and congratulated him on what he has accomplished.
“It means a lot,” said Anderson. “I really realize after the bowl game it means a lot more to a lot of other people. They said they’ve been watching me through my career and it’s just been great. I didn’t realize how many people do all of that.”
“It’s just a lot of older people. A lot of people back in high school like teachers and some people were just random,” joked Anderson. “They would come up and say ‘Tyler I used to watch you in high school’ and it makes you want to grind harder. It makes you want to not let people down.”
As of now, the coaching staff doesn’t have a set depth chart moving to the 3-4 defense. Anderson has just as good a chance as any player to win one of the starting linebacker positions and that’s exactly what his goal is for the start of the season. In the past, he has had the chance to learn from players like Najee Goode, JT Thomas and Anthony Leonard and he’s watched them succeed in the Gold and Blue.