Anderson expected to take leadership role

Heading into the 2008 football season, most eyes were focused on Westlake (Waldorf, Md.) transfer Devon Smith, but another transfer quietly solidified a championship defense and will return for his senior season.

Marcus Anderson transferred to Westlake from Friendly High School (Fort Washington, Md.) for his junior season and ended up as the Wolverines' second-leading tackler behind Miami (Ohio) commitment Evan Harris.

"He's got good speed. He's physical and he's flexible -- he can play inside or outside as a 'Sam' linebacker," Westlake coach Dominic Zaccarelli said of Anderson. "We were able to line him up on the edge on certain fronts and then roll him down to play on top of a tight end. He's really good at getting back into zone coverage, but he's also good at playing man-to-man with a [running] back."

Anderson recorded 68 tackles (14 for loss), seven pass deflections, three sacks and one interception last season.

Zaccarelli said Anderson improved rapidly from week to week, learning the team's 4-4 defense and getting more comfortable in it.

Anderson and Smith were two key pieces in Westlake's Class 3A championship season. Smith, a transfer from Eleanor Roosevelt High School (Greenbelt, Md.) rushed for more than 1,700 yards and 20 touchdowns. He has committed to play football for Penn State.

For his senior season, Anderson is a likely candidate to move into the graduating Harris' middle linebacker spot.

Anderson also will attempt to fill another of Harris' roles by becoming the leader of a defense that returns eight starters.

Zaccarelli said Anderson could spend some time on offense at either tight end or fullback but that it will depend on how other players fill spots on offense.

Pittsburgh, Penn State and Boston College have expressed early interest in Anderson, according to Zaccarelli.

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Mike Loveday covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com. Mike can be reached at Michael.Loveday@espn.com