As players take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.
Today we’ll focus on rookie linebacker Ryan Anderson.
1. He hails from Daphne, Ala.
Anderson was coached by Glenn Vickery at Daphne High School in Alabama. As a junior, Anderson posted 75 stops and 14.5 sacks, helping Daphne win the state championship. And during his senior year, he recorded 105 tackles and 12 sacks.
His numbers earned him the distinction of a five-star prospect by 247Sports.com, which ranked him as the nation’s No. 19 overall prospect and the No. 1 outside linebacker. Anderson then committed to Alabama over Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee and Illinois.
2. He was the high school and college teammate of Jacksonville Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon.
Anderson’s Daphne High School team was loaded with playmakers, one being current Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon.
On July 8, Anderson, along with Yeldon, Mike Pierce and Torren McGaster returned to their hometown to host a free youth football camp at Al Trione Park.
3. He has NFL pedigree.
Anderson also happens to be the second cousin of Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Wallace Gilberry.
Like Anderson, Gillberry is from Daphne, Ala., and was a standout player at the University of Alabama. In 10 NFL seasons, Gillberry tallied 191 tackles, 34 sacks, nine passes defensed and seven forced fumbles.
4. He was redshirted his freshman year at Alabama.
Given the immense talent Alabama head coach Nick Saban collects on the recruiting trail, Anderson found himself watching his teammates from the sidelines during his freshman year despite being one of the top high school linebackers in the country.
In fact, the culture shock caused Anderson to consider leaving Alabama all together.
However, Anderson’s mother convinced him to see it through, and in time he was able to exceed expectations in Tuscaloosa as an integral part of the nation’s best defense over the next four seasons, earning him a second-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.
5. His first and only career interception came on college football’s biggest stage.
Anderson’s first career interception couldn’t have come at a better time.
No. 1 Alabama had only a three-point lead heading into halftime against No. 4 Washington with 1:21 left to play in the first half of the 2017 Peach Bowl.
Washington quarterback Jake Browning seemed to have the Huskies in position to tie or take the lead, but then Anderson stepped in front of Browning’s swing pass to the sideline and returned it 26 yards to give the Crimson Tide a commanding 17-7 lead.
Anderson’s pick-6 would prove to be the difference, and Alabama would go on to win the game 24-7 and advance to the National Championship game.
6. He’s a fierce competitor.
In a high school 7-on-7 flag football tournament, Anderson and his team faced that of 2015 first-round draft pick and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston. AL.com reported that Winston beat Anderson in a scoring play, and the quarterback winked at the linebacker at the start of the next snap.
Anderson then plowed over the opposing receiver that he was covering, igniting a minor scuffle between the two teams.
Anderson has maintained this intensity throughout college play and into the NFL, where Redskins’ Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams praised the player’s ferocity and passion.
“That kid Ryan Anderson,” Williams said, “if you’re going to have an Alpha male in the locker room, he’d look like that guy.
“He doesn’t smile that much, man, but he loves to practice, he loves the game of football.”
7. His former coach named his baby after him.
Back on May 23, Jeremy Pruitt, Anderson’s defensive coordinator at Alabama, and his wife Casey named their newborn son Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, after Anderson and his former Alabama teammate Reuben Foster.
Both Anderson and Foster were Top-50 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft.