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WR Andrel Anthony’s path to Michigan, outlook for 2021

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A player Jim Harbaugh is high on.

Syndication: Lansing State Journal Al Goldis | For the Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Hailing from just up the road in East Lansing, freshman wide receiver Andrel Anthony was coveted by both Michigan and Michigan State alike. In the end, it was the maize and blue who earned the trust of the East Lansing native.

The 6-foot-2 wideout has already made an impression on WR Ronnie Bell and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, among other players and coaches. However, Anthony will have to prove his worth before the season starts to carve an immediate path to playing time.

The story so far

Anthony’s high school career featured him excelling at both football and basketball, something that caught the eye of Michigan. Anthony set East Lansing High School’s record for receiving with 1,971 career yards during his career. Per the 247Sports Composite, Anthony was the No. 523 overall player nationally, and the No. 81 WR prospect in the nation, along with being the No. 14 prospect in Michigan.

Anthony’s final four list during his recruitment consisted of Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan. However, Anthony chose Michigan instead of his hometown college team. “Michigan has been recruiting me hard since my sophomore year,” Anthony said last year. “They really showed a lot of interest in me early, and really showed they had faith in me.”

Anthony’s connection to the Michigan staff stretches well before his high school playing days. “First met him my first year here at Michigan,” Harbaugh said in December. “We were doing a youth camp. I could pull it up on my phone and show you, it’s pretty cool. Still have it. Also, great competitor. Love watching him play basketball to see him develop from a young kid to a tremendous, tremendous football player. Got great length, great catch radius. Definitely one of my favorites, if not my very favorite. The connection, the friendship, tremendous player.”

Harbaugh felt there is a lot to like about Anthony’s game — he likes Anthony’s hustle, sheer athletic ability, and polish for being so young.

“The big catch radius, he lights up the room, to me, with his enthusiasm. The other people, you see the smile and the energy. Whether it’s on the basketball court or the football field, I really see the energy and the enthusiasm,” Harbaugh said. “The athletic ability just pops. He was also somebody that we saw in camp multiple times, known him for a very long time. He has a high school record of 1,971 receiving yards. He is as close to a finished receiver-type person in high school that you can be. Tremendous football background as well at East Lansing. One of my absolute favorite high school coaches up there in the country. Everything. I like everything about Andrel Anthony.”

Anthony enrolled early and has already been with the team this past spring, which certainly gives him a leg up, as he’s ahead of the ball figuratively instead of behind it.

Outlook moving forward

Anthony is making his presence known, but Michigan has plenty of wideouts vying for playing time. UM has Ronnie Bell, Mike Sainristil, Cornelius Johnson, Roman Wilson, and A.J. Henning all vying for targets — and then there’s Anthony. Michigan could use more size on the outside, and a bit more size at receiver period, Anthony gives them that. A player with a big catch radius that doesn’t look raw coming out of high school. Perhaps Anthony can become a reliable fixture in the Michigan offense sooner than later. Anthony getting on the field could wind up becoming a common occurrence with Michigan utilizing four-receiver sets aplenty under offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.