Chas­ing a ti­tle makes it tough

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS - [email protected]­lan­dosen­tinel.com

of­fers head­ing into his se­nior sea­son, had a dif­fi­cult col­lege de­ci­sion to make as he con­tin­ued to pick up more of­fers.

The tough­est call was whether to wait on more of­fers af­ter the early-sign­ing day or wait to see what the fall­out was af­ter­ward. It’s risky to wait be­cause 247Sports.com es­ti­mates up to 85% of Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion schol­ar­ship spots are claimed dur­ing the early-sign­ing pe­riod, leav­ing few spots for un­signed tal­ent dur­ing the reg­u­lar sign­ing pe­riod in Fe­bru­ary.

There was no time, how­ever, for An­der­ton to go on of­fi­cial vis­its to schools mak­ing late of­fers with his high school team pre­par­ing for the state-ti­tle run. All An­der­ton could do was hope col­lege coaches could wait un­til the Fe­bru­ary sign­ing pe­riod as he planned his of­fi­cial vis­its.

David’s father, Scott An­der­ton, talked about the frus­tra­tion of the ex­pe­ri­ence, which they are still try­ing to get a han­dle on as the new year hov­ers.

“Yeah, we had a cou­ple of things lined up for of­fi­cial vis­its, but we kept win­ning,” Scott An­der­ton said. “That’s when he started ask­ing some of the schools he had of­fers from if they wanted him to sign early or if he could wait and sign later.

“He was ask­ing them if they were putting pres­sure on him to sign early, but they all said, ‘No, we can wait. We’re go­ing to prob­a­bly get 60 or 70% of our class, but we’re go­ing to have some flex­i­bil­ity be­yond the early sign­ing day.’ ”

So even though An­der­ton has the schol­ar­ship of­fers on the ta­ble from schools like Pitts­burgh and Mid­dle Ten­nessee, and then pos­si­bly of­fers com­ing from oth­ers like Vir­ginia Tech, West Vir­ginia and Syra­cuse, it didn’t make the sit­u­a­tion any less stress­ful.

The longer he waits to make a de­ci­sion, the more trust is in­volved in the equa­tion.

“I don’t like it at all, to be per­fectly hon­est with you,” Scott An­der­ton said. “It’s been weird be­cause we were try­ing to get ready to win [a state ti­tle] and we didn’t want to make it all about David. It just kind of hap­pened that way and I don’t know if it’s a wise de­ci­sion to wait, it’s our first and only time go­ing through it.

“He could have signed with Pitt early, but then he’s tak­ing all of these other teams off the ta­ble. Right now, he’s kind of a bub­ble guy with the Power 5 schools, and so he doesn’t have bonafide of­fers. Then the prob­lem is that he hasn’t tak­ing any of­fi­cials.”

An­der­son and Moore, on the other hand, had no FBS of­fers head­ing into the sea­son. At 6-foot, 305 pounds, Moore was too short, said most re­cruiters, while An­der­son (6-3, 320) was shift­ing to the other side of the ball af­ter pri­mar­ily be­ing an of­fen­sive line­man dur­ing his first three years of high school. Both needed more film to show what they could do.

An­der­son did say, how­ever, he didn’t be­lieve the ex­tended sea­son hin­dered his process. His take is five more games may have helped him.

“Nah, I don’t think so be­cause the schools all re­spected our de­ci­sions not to go on vis­its,” An­der­son said. “I did think that dur­ing all of De­cem­ber I would take my vis­its, but it didn’t hin­der any­thing. It prob­a­bly helped be be­cause I prob­a­bly would have signed [early], but more schools have been con­tact­ing me … a lot more schools.”

So the play­offs have helped An­der­son and Moore.

“In the play­offs, I was able to show­case what I’ve been do­ing all year ver­sus bet­ter tal­ent, and we played good teams in the reg­u­lar sea­son like Edge­wa­ter and Apopka,” An­der­son said. “But it’s bet­ter when you can show what you can do against like Wakulla, an un­de­feated team, or [Mi­ami] North­west­ern, the state champs … play­ing against ex­tra com­pe­ti­tion with D-1 kids. It just shows you can play against the cream of the crop.

“One re­cruiter told me a lot of schools will be con­tact­ing me now be­cause they missed out on some guys dur­ing the early-sign­ing pe­riod.”

The play­ers have faith it will work it out and they will sign dur­ing the sec­ond sign­ing pe­riod, which be­gins Feb. 5. Un­til then, they will squeeze in their of­fi­cial vis­its and make the best choice pos­si­ble.

STEPHEN M. DOWELL/ OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL

Edge­wa­ter High’s David An­der­ton is sched­ul­ing of­fi­cial vis­its af­ter the state play­offs made it im­pos­si­ble to do so ahead of the early-sign­ing pe­riod.

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