Michigan presumably wrapped up its 2021 four-man wide receiver class on Friday with the addition of East Lansing native, Andrel Anthony.
The three-star prospect stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 175 pounds. His height is about average, but he is long-limbed and has a large catch radius. Those attributes will allow him to line up on the outside, but he also has the ability to play the slot.
He used those long arms to grab 54 catches for 954 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior, with the first two stats being school records. That helped Anthony earn first-team All-State honors and become a Mr. Football finalist for the state of Michigan.
I couldn’t find any full East Lansing football games from last season, so this report will rely on his junior highlight reel, which you can find here.
The best part of Anthony’s game is his ability to change direction. He snaps off his routes hard, often leaving his defender a couple feet away.
In this play, Anthony actually makes two breaks in his route. The first one doesn’t do anything to fool the defender, who keeps his hips square. But once Anthony gets to the goal line, he breaks outside and makes a diving catch before the cornerback can react.
He shows this again on an in route, where both guys covering him are a couple steps slow to react to his change of direction.
Anthony can also separate from his release on the line against man press coverage. On this next play, he has a defensive back lined up directly in front of him. Anthony sharply cuts outside before cutting back in. The juke move dusts his man, and Anthony uses his speed to gain about seven yards of separation and beat the safety for a touchdown.
Anthony will definitely have to pack on some weight before he sees the field at Michigan. I talked about his long frame above, but only being 175 pounds means he lacks important strength and size that will help him win more 50/50 balls and beat press coverage when he doesn’t juke a guy out of his shorts.
Anthony’s game actually reminds me of Grant Perry, despite the latter purely being a slot. Perry was known primarily for his route-running skills, and a play on Anthony’s tape reminds me of an almost identical play by Perry against Hawaii in 2016 that’s stuck in my brain.
Anthony will be coming onto campus with upperclassmen Ronnie Bell and Cornelius Johnson likely cemented into starting spots. After they leave, he’ll be part of a crew that includes Roman Wilson, Cristian Dixon and Markus Allen to fill those roles. If he doesn’t end up starting, he should at least be part of the rotation.