As you know, this is grad transfer season for college football, and one of the popular ones is an All-Conference USA offensive tackle from Rice University, Calvin Anderson. He’s being pursued by Texas (important because Anderson is originally an Austin boy), Oklahoma, Auburn, TCU, and several others, but Michigan is trying hard to make an impression as well - and that included an in-person visit from Jim Harbaugh in mid-January and another visit today.
Anderson is planning to use all five official visits, and in the meantime he’s receiving plenty of coaches’ visits. He plans to decide by March 25 - his birthday - so that gives Michigan some time to work its magic.
Strengths: Anderson is a natural athlete who has quick feet, the ability to pull and work in space and quick reaction time at the snap of the ball. He has good pad level, his technique looks polished to my admittedly untrained eye, and he has active hands and good length.
Essentially, he’s very good at getting his hands on and controlling the person across from him, and he’s athletic enough to block linebackers and even defensive backs in space. He’s also an iron man, having started 36 straight games for the Owls.
Neutral: We’ll see how much strength Anderson shows against Power 5 defensive linemen, but he showed a predilection for pancaking his G5 competition. So I think he’ll be decent, at the very least.
Weaknesses: None. Anderson is a polished all-around player who looks like the fifth-year senior that he is. If he’s intent on transferring somewhere for his fifth year - he’s apparently interested in getting good NFL coaching and a shot at playing in the NFL - then he’ll have to get adjusted to a new program, playbook and locker room, and for some players that can be difficult. But Anderson is a smart cookie, so I think he’ll be fine.
The competition: As I said already, Anderson has drawn interest from Texas as well as several other programs. Texas is the “home-town team,” but they also have something else in their favor: the offensive line coach, Derek Warehime, played for and started his coaching career at Rice, and he’s a young guy with recruiting chops. (Update: Texas also just stole Auburn’s OL coach, Herb Hand, and might keep Warehime.) On the other hand, Texas is coming off of a 7-6 season that endured tons of offensive line injuries and could continue to be held down by Tim Beck as offensive coordinator.
Auburn, Oklahoma, and TCU have also expressed interest, but we’re at a stage right now where teams are still throwing their hats in the ring and getting acquainted with him.
NFL experience is likely to impress Anderson, and here it helps that Michigan has consistently put players into the league, miraculously including even the RichRod and Hoke years. In fact, there are currently six former Michigan linemen in the NFL - Taylor Lewan, Graham Glasgow, Michael Schofield, Patrick Omameh, Kyle Kalis, and Erik Magnuson. Auburn has three, Oklahoma has five, TCU has four, and Texas has just two.