Louisville's Anderson on path to stardom

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Maybe some are surprised by how Victor Anderson has started his college career. Not Mike Glaser.

The longtime coach of Louisville high school football power Saint Xavier remembers how Anderson burst onto the varsity scene as a sophomore, running for 27 touchdowns and leading the Tigers to the state title.

"On his first touchdown in the state championship game, he almost broke a guy's leg with a move he put on him," Glaser said. "I can still see it in my head to this day."

Anderson has already done that to several college defenders during his redshirt freshman year at Louisville. He ranks 15th in the nation in rushing, averaging 110.5 yards per game for the Cardinals (4-2, 0-1 Big East). He's gaining seven yards per carry and has scored seven touchdowns, including an 88-yard dash last week against Middle Tennessee State.

"He's got so much speed and he's just so shifty," said South Florida coach Jim Leavitt, whose team will try to slow down Anderson on Saturday. "He plants and he's gone."

Anderson is definitely one of the fastest Cardinals on the team, but it's the 5-foot-9, 182-pounder's strength that usually catches people off guard. When he takes a hit, he's likely to bounce away. Glaser recalls another play from high school, when his running back seemed to disappear in a crowd of four or five tacklers on a sweep play, only to re-emerge and drag defenders into the end zone.

"He plays a lot bigger than 182 pounds," Louisville running backs coach Tony Alford said. "He keeps his feet moving on contact, and you've really got to wrap him up to bring him down."

You want pound-for-pound power? Anderson said he squats 600 pounds.

"That alone is what a running back really needs -- leg strength," he said. "I try to work on that every day. I'm not the biggest guy on the field so I've got to have a big, strong heart."

On top of all that, he has plenty of jukes in his box of tools. Just see the three long touchdown runs he had against Kansas State or the fake-outs he put on UConn while turning a short run into an 18-yard touchdown.

Alford, who has coached at Iowa State and Washington, said few tailbacks have the whole package like Anderson.

"All things being equal, with everything combined, he has the most ability of all of the players I've coached put together in one," Alford said. "One guy might have been more powerful, another guy more shifty. But he brings a lot to the table. And the good thing is, he's just a young guy, so hopefully he'll continue to get even better."