The backfield is already loaded, and that’s before you consider the impact Baker Mayfield can have in the running game. We’ve all spent a lot of time thinking and talking about Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, but Rodney Anderson has, for the most part, gone by the wayside. Maybe he’ll be overlooked by defenses as well.
Redshirt freshman Rodney Anderson seems poised to break out in a third running back role behind Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. Remember Chris Brown and Roy Finch? He’s even better. When defenses are fatigued after chasing around Mixon or Mayfield or getting bowled over by Perine, they’ll have to contend with Rodney Anderson.
Anderson, the redshirt freshman from Katy, Texas, is six feet tall, 220 pounds, and explosive as hell. Like Perine, he doesn’t go down on first contact, and—at least according to Baker Mayfield–can’t be arm tackled. He impressed his teammates and coaches as well as the media last spring and by all accounts seems to be improving daily.
Anderson had just one run for five yards against Akron last season. In the second game of the season, against Tennessee, he broke his leg on special teams. Anderson was poised to be a contributor last season, according to Bob Stoops: “He would have [helped] last year had he not gotten hurt. He’s moving well.”
He was awarded a medical redshirt after his injury in Knoxville, so he’s got plenty of time to prove himself; this is just the beginning. Anderson seems nothing short of ready to prove he’s better than last season: “It was tough, having to sit out and go to treatment every day. It got repetitive,” he said about his rehab. “But I knew I had to do it and I knew I had to do it to get better.”
After that gruesome of injury, that early in your career, you’re only thinking of one thing: getting back onto the field. That special brand of tunnel vision, combined with the added motivation of playing behind two of the nation’s best backs (in Perine and Mixon) could result in special things from Rodney Anderson this season.