By DARRYL MAXIE / firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re going to uproot and re-plant yourself 2,500 miles away, you’d better be sure. Woodward Academy defensive end Henry Anderson is certain, and that’s why he committed to Stanford this week, choosing the Cardinal over Georgia Tech, Virginia, Michigan, Florida State and Clemson.
He was impressed by everything at Stanford — the campus, the alumni who give back to the school, the academics of course, and the passion of head coach Jim Harbaugh and the Cardinal assistants.
“Probably the No. 1 thing was the attitude of the coaches,” Anderson told the AJC. “They want to win more than anything else.”
Anderson, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound rising senior, quickly understood what had sold fellow Georgians Daunte Carr and Tai-ler Jones, both of Gainesville, on the Palo Alto, Calif., school.
“I think Tai-ler and Daunte were very amazed as I was by the campus, all the facilities, everything about California,” Anderson said.
Jones and his father impressed Anderson with a conversation they had with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about Stanford. Rice is a political science professor at the school and was a provost there from 1993-99. Anderson seems to have the academic bonafides to hold his own at Stanford — a 4.1 grade-point average and a 31 on the ACT.
Almost getting a chance to play golf with LPGA star Michelle Wie, a Stanford student, impressed Anderson during one visit. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t about golf, or fancy buildings, or famous alumni like Nike founder Phil Knight and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Ph.D students.
It was about football. Winning football. The thought of knocking off USC for a Pac-10 championship appeals to Anderson, especially since Stanford beat USC 24-23 in an October 2007 game — on the road, no less.
“I love the attitude of Coach Harbaugh and his staff — they’re all competitors,” Anderson said. “They wouldn’t be satisfied with finishing second or third, they want to be winning the Pac-10. If the ball bounces the right way, Stanford could win the Pac-10.”